Tariff (Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and The Republic of Korea) Amendment Bill Statement to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee

by | Jul 23, 2015 | Speeches

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Mr Chairman, Honourable members.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to our submission. I do so on behalf of the business leaders who make up the membership of the NZ International Business Forum. The organisations they represent are among New Zealand’s largest internationally oriented businesses and peak business associations.

This is a fairly straightforward piece of legislation, which we encourage Members to support.  The Bill provides for implementation of the New Zealand tariff concessions to Korea in the context of the FTA and makes possible the much more significant concessions which Korea will implement in respect of New Zealand.

Our earlier submission on the FTA set out the rationale for this agreement which provides a pathway to tariff elimination for a number of key products for New Zealand in the Korean market including most dairy products, beef and kiwifruit and immediate tariff elimination on wine.

The value of the FTA is highlighted by the fact that New Zealand exporters to Korea currently pay $195 million in tariffs whereas Korean exporters to New Zealand pay $5 million.

The relatively low level of New Zealand tariffs on Korean products also indicates why the domestic adjustment arising from the implementation of the concessions provided for in the draft bill will be minimal.

As we also said in our earlier submission, the FTA is far from perfect but it does address the competitive position for New Zealand products in Korea in the medium term.

Mr Chairman, Honourable Members

This Bill is not about other aspects of the FTA, some of which, as we have seen in your report back to Parliament, pose difficulties for some Members.

In the interests of securing the future of New Zealand’s exports to Korea the NZ International Business Forum urges allMembers to support the Bill now before you.

Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director, NZIBF

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