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Japanese farmers now have to compete with New Zealand imports

Staff Writer |
As of yesterday, Japanese farmers have to compete with cheaper agricultural products imported from New Zealand and Australia as the first tariff cuts under the re-jigged Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal have taken effect.

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As of 1 January 2019, Japan axes tariffs on kiwifruit, grapes and melons, apart from cutting tariffs on imported beef. The island nation has been imposing tariffs of more than 6 percent on kiwifruit - 80 percent of which are imported from New Zealand.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) takes effect on 30 December for six of its 11 members - New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico and Singapore. Vietnam will join them on 14 January. The US pulled out after Donald Trump became president, although MP Todd McClay said the government needs to do everything it possibly can to bring the US back into the trade agreement.

The New Zealand government is predicting the nation's exporters will be the first to benefit from the re-jigged TPP deal.

The Minister for Trade and Export Growth, David Parker, said the lowered tariffs in three significant economies -Japan, Canada and Mexico- will give a further boost to the competitiveness of New Zealand products in those markets.

"The CPTPP has the potential to deliver an estimated $222 million of tariff savings to New Zealand exporters annually once it is fully in force, with almost half of that - or $105 million - now available in the first 12 months," he said.

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