Successful conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations welcomed by Onions New Zealand

04 Nov 2019 Successful conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations welcomed by Onions New Zealand  image

Onions New Zealand welcomes the successful conclusion of the RCEP negotiations, saying trade agreements like these underpin the success of the New Zealand onion sector.

‘The RCEP covers trade among New Zealand and 14 other Asia-Pacific countries, except India.  That is, half the world’s population,’ says Onions New Zealand Chief Executive, James Kuperus.

‘Without reduced tariffs and clear trading arrangements, it is extremely difficult to export from the bottom of the world to larger economies like Asia and Australia. 

‘Agreements like these mean more onions can be exported with the higher returns going directly back into regional New Zealand communities.

‘Although the details of the RCEP are yet to be finalised, there are clear savings and benefits for New Zealand growers and exporters, including the agreement to clear perishable goods within six hours.

‘This will allow more horticultural products such as onions to be exported to these markets with better assurances that they will not sit on wharfs for extended periods of time.’   

James says New Zealand onion exports will reach $170 million in 2019.

‘This is a major milestone thanks to strong demand from European Union (EU) customers this year. We have been trading with the EU for more than 60 years with strong relationships built on trust and integrity.’   

Onions New Zealand would like to congratulate the officials who have negotiated the RCEP agreement over the past seven years. 

Onions in New Zealand

5,296 hectares of onions are grown across New Zealand, with the main growing regions being Pukekohe, Waikato, Canterbury, Hawke’s Bay and the Manawatu.

The New Zealand onion industry is predominantly made up of family owned and operated grower operations. 

Onions are an important rotational crop because they prevent pest and disease build up.  For example, potato and carrot growers rotate into onions because diseases that survive on potatoes and carrots do not survive on onions, meaning fewer controls are required to manage the potatoes and carrots in subsequent year plantings.