New Zealand onion growers and exporters have welcomed the signing of the UK-NZ Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as the current export season gets underway.
‘This is welcome news at a time when there is so much uncertainty, due to Covid and related shipping disruptions,’ says Onions NZ Chief Executive, James Kuperus.
‘The new onion export season is underway. Onions are a global product and our first shipments have arrived in Asia and the Pacific Islands, and will soon arrive in Europe.
‘It’s been a difficult growing year, with little rainfall from November onwards reducing yield. Furthermore, prices for New Zealand onions have been affected by shipping issues and an increase in almost every growing input cost.
‘As these issues and increases are happening the world over, they’re of little surprise to importers and customers but markets are slow to respond. That’s why tariff reductions are important as they will provide future relief.’
James says the New Zealand onion industry is built around strong, long-lasting logistics relationships and loyal customers.
‘The UK-NZ Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will further cement these relationships while offering the New Zealand onion industry the opportunity to expand its customer base in the UK.
‘Of benefit will be the elimination of the 8% tariff on onions once the agreement comes into force for next season. This will directly benefit onion growers and regional communities, from Pukekohe to Canterbury.
‘The New Zealand onion sector works closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on market access and expansion initiatives. The sector is extremely grateful to New Zealand’s negotiators and diplomats, whom we know have worked tirelessly to conclude this agreement.’
New Zealand currently exports $9 million worth of onions to the United Kingdom annually. In 2021, the New Zealand onion industry was worth $155 million in farm gate returns to growers, 80% of which came from exports.