Exporters urged to maximize trade deals
Local exporters were urged to make the most of the free trade agreement between Asean member-countries and New Zealand to boost bilateral trade and investment ties.
New Zealand Trade Commissioner Hernando Banal said in a forum on Tuesday that there were numerous business opportunities that the countries can tap, particularly in the food and beverage industry; renewable energy; wood products; ICT innovations; aviation and airport development; and education.
As of end-July this year, total bilateral trade between the Philippines and New Zealand stood at NZ$1.059 billion.
Of this amount, NZ$841.3 million comprised New Zealand’s exports to the Philippines, while the remaining $217.9 million represented imports from local firms.
New Zealand’s main exports to the Philippines included wood, dairy and meat products, while its imports comprised mostly of fruits, electronic products, industrial equipment and even car batteries.
According to Banal, local exporters can leverage on the Asean-Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), of which the Philippines is a signatory.
Philippines will also soon enjoy zero tariffs on all its merchandise exports to New Zealand starting 2020, and this will further strengthen the trade relationship between the two countries.
A notable gainer in this development will be the textile and garments sector, as many of its product lines are still slapped with tariffs of up to 10 percent.
Today, 97 percent of Philippine merchandise exports to New Zealand are already duty free, Banal said in an interview with the Inquirer earlier this year.
The Philippines, however, was not expected to remove tariffs on sensitive categories which included vegetables, rice and sugar.
New Zealand has also sought to further strengthen its cultural ties with the Philippines, particularly in the education sector, given the latter’s robust middle class population that is looking at opportunities abroad for higher studies. —Amy R. Remo
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