By Christine Blank, SeafoodSource contributing editor
Published on 10 July, 2013
Taiwan and New Zealand’s new Economic Partnership Agreement (ANZTEC) is expected to boost exports of New Zealand seafood to Taiwan in the near future.
As part of the agreement, signed on 10 July, tariffs on all seafood products will be phased out over four to eight years. Seafood products that will be duty-free within four years include: fresh and frozen tuna, rock lobster, blue cod and toothfish.
“Seafood New Zealand understands that the trade in seafood products has been one of the more sensitive product sectors for Taiwan and welcomes the commitment of the Taiwanese government to liberalize this trade,” Seafood New Zealand said.
The new partnership also opens the door for New Zealand seafood suppliers to develop niche markets in Taiwan, Alastair Macfarlane, International Policy and Market Access Manager for Seafood New Zealand, told Seafood Source. New Zealand’s seafood sales to Taiwan reached USD $11 million FOB in 2012.
“Taiwan has a very vibrant seafood industry of its own. The opportunities for New Zealand are likely to start with specialty products and species that Taiwan does not produce itself,” Macfarlane said. For example, New Zealand’s farmed Greenshell mussels already have a small base in Taiwan and that market will grow. In addition, Macfarlane also expects the country’s rock lobster, Antarctic toothfish and blue cod to grow in popularity in Taiwan.
Current Taiwanese tariffs on New Zealand seafood range from 15 to 30 percent on average, although a small portion are faced with a 50 percent tariff rate, according to Macfarlane.
New Zealand seafood exporters have faced high tariffs since around 2003, when Taiwanese authorities reviewed the way the tariff on rock lobsters was calculated, using a complex formula of fixed value per kilo or a percentage tariff.
“The effect of the change was to make cold water rock lobster imports, including the species from New Zealand, uncompetitive with competing imports of tropical species of rock lobster at that time. Since then, demand for New Zealand rock lobster in China has grown dramatically and China is now the dominant market,” Macfarlane said.