New Zealand/China FTA

Saturday, 29 January, 2005

The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council (SeaFIC) says that exports of New Zealand seafood to China could treble if the government is successful in negotiating a bilateral Free Trade Agreement.

"We're already selling about $100 million worth of seafood and fish products to China to make it one of our most strategically important markets and we believe that it has the potential to grow to be one of the biggest with Japan, the United States and Europe." Owen Symmans, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council Ltd (SeaFIC) said in welcoming the government's announcement that negotiations on a China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement would get under way shortly.

"A Free Trade Agreement would provide greater opportunities for New Zealand fishing and aquaculture companies to their sales to China and also to develop closer commercial relationships with Chinese fish and food processing companies," said Mr Symmans.

New Zealand's current seafood trade to China is dominated by fish products that are sold for further processing. But, Mr Symmans noted that a number of high value seafood products exported to Hong Kong, such as live rock lobster (crayfish), were frequently re-exported from Hong Kong to China by their Hong Kong buyers.

"This suggests there is genuine potential for direct trade in the future once market access barriers were addressed in the negotiations," he said.

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