Pipfruit in talks on market access

By PATRICK O'SULLIVAN - Business Editor

Pipfruit New Zealand will be directly involved in market access negotiations, says chief executive Allan Pollard.

The organisation would take a greater part in trade negotiations and lobbying New Zealand government officials, he said.

"The biggest issue is market access and we will be taking a much stronger leadership role, in partnership with the various ministries, in negotiating market access outcomes and compliance rules around them," he said.

The organisation would make it clear to the government departments what the desired outcomes for overseas markets were and how to approach them, he said.

"Each market is very different. We will be clear about what sort of protocols will we be comfortable with - we have a protocol with Australia but it is very difficult to achieve it so we don't want those protocols in place.

"We will be working together with the government's ministries to access these markets.

"I think that is a major step for us, to actually take that leadership role."

The organisation had been "a little bit passive than we should have been" and accepting of what Government ministries had advised after trade negotiations in the past, he said.

"Frankly I think we can help those ministries with those negotiations better than we have - it is to be expected of us too."

"I think it is very positive. Notwithstanding some of the challenges we have had, there is a feeling of positivity out there - a feeling that maybe things could change for us which is great."

The sharpening of Pipfruit NZ's political focus is not the only shift in the industry - Asia is growing fast as a market.

This season just under 33 per cent of apple exports went to Asia compared with 28 per cent to continental Europe.

Last season Asia took 27 per cent and Europe 35 per cent.

Membership of Pipfruit NZ is open to anyone involved in growing, distributing or supplying pipfruit.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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