Horticultural produce exporters paid an estimated $235 million in tariffs to importing countries last year - an increase of 19 per cent on the 2008 figure of $197 million - even though their export earnings rose by only 8 per cent.
The industry's 2010 "trade barriers" report released yesterday showed tariffs imposed by other countries on New Zealand fruit and vegetables cost growers on average $34,000 each, up $6000 on 2008.
The report, commissioned by the Horticulture Export Authority (HEA) and Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) every two years, is used by the industry and government agencies for monitoring and negotiating international trade access and helping exporters to develop new markets.
About 60 per cent of the nation's fruit and vegetables are exported, earning just under $2.2 billion.
The value of exports to China has more than tripled from $20 million to $75 million over the past two years. The industry's four biggest markets for New Zealand produce were the European Union (worth $603 million), Japan ($445 million), Australia ($337 million) and the US ($126 million).