Zespri has welcomed the signing of New Zealand's free trade agreement with the European Union, noting business, consumers and communities in both countries will benefit.
The deal announced today in Brussels includes the removal of tariffs on New Zealand kiwifruit exports to the European Union (EU) upon entry into force.
Mount Maunganui-based Zespri paid around $46.5m in tariffs on sales of more than $1 billion to the EU last season.
Speaking from Brussels, Zespri chairman Bruce Cameron said the agreement would help the company meet the growing demand for its fruit in Europe.
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"This is a strong deal for a wide range of exporters including new Zealand's kiwifruit industry and we're really pleased to see it finalised.
"The Fair Trade Agreement will set us up to expand our exports to Europe, providing more European consumers with the highest-quality Zespri Kiwifruit and helping deliver strong returns for our growers."
Cameron said Europe was one of Zespri's largest markets and the company remained committed to deepening its relationships in the region.
It partnered with a number of growers in Italy, France and Greece as part of its strategy to establish a year-round supply of fruit.
Cameron said the agreement would strengthen Zespri's ability to deliver positive outcomes in Europe and New Zealand.
It would also acknowledge the hard work and leadership of trade negotiators and the ambition of political leaders on both sides, he said.
"Their leadership on improving trade ties to underpin growth and prosperity and to build stronger international connections has never been more important, and this agreement is a strong platform to allow us to continue to do so."