As New Zealand marks the one-year anniversary of its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with South Korea, Fonterra Co-operative Group is gearing up to take advantage of huge potential for its dairy products there, particularly cheese. Since the FTA was signed in December 2015, New Zealand has experienced 16 percent growth in exports of food and beverage products to Korea.
The country is New Zealand’s fifth largest cheese market, worth US$50 million (NZ$70m) a year – comparable to New Zealand’s cheese trade to the United States.
New Zealand’s new annual duty free quota of 7000 metric tonnes (MT) of cheese to Korea will increase by three percent a year.
Tariffs on cheddar and block mozzarella will be removed after seven and 12 years respectively, with all cheese tariffs eliminated and quotas removed after 15 years.
Quotas and tariffs on butter, anhydrous milk fat and infant formula will also be phased out over 15 years.
Fonterra has seen strong interest in its products off the back of the Agreement, reflecting the growing demand for high quality dairy in Korea, Jason Murney, Fonterra’s country manager Korea, said.
“A lot of our existing customers and new customers are approaching us to develop new business opportunities,” he said.
“The FTA will help Fonterra deepen its commercial relationships in the market over time, as our access continues to increase.
“We have already seen positive results, with government import statistics showing that New Zealand’s share of the Korean cheddar market has grown to over 60 per cent in 2016, up from 50 percent in 2015.”