BArich Taiwan-An economic cooperation agreement between Taiwan and New Zealand has created more business opportunities and increased profits for Taiwanese importers, both officials and vendors said Wednesday at a food festival promoting New Zealand products.

During the two-day business-to-business fair, where the New Zealand Trade Development Centre (NZTDC) hopes to build up a stronger network between sellers and buyers in Taiwan, attending vendors said they have benefited from the pact.

David Hsiao, representing wine importer Grand Reserve, said a 10 percent waiver on the wine import tax under the Agreement between New Zealand and the separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC), has helped his businesses.

Eighty percent of the wine Hsiao handles is from New Zealand, and thanks to a stronger partnership with the NZTDC after the agreement, Hsiao said the two sides have also been holding seminars to enhance wine education in Taiwan.

“New Zealand's wine is refreshing, vibrant and elegant,” he said, expressing hopes that greater knowledge of wine among consumers can help introduce the unique taste profiles of New Zealand wine.

According to NZTDC Director Dean Prebble, wine exports to Taiwan have enjoyed 50 percent growth over the past 12 months.

In the future, Prebble said, his office will work more closely with processed food importers for greater markets because the sector often faces more stages of safety checks, hence resulting in higher costs.

That will be good news to Lin Mey-jiao, president of Miaolin Food Co., who is promoting avocado oil at the fair.

“New Zealand has a great variety of organic food products,” she said. “I think the market is full of potential."

The ANZTEC, which took force Dec. 1, 2013, is the first agreement of its type to include substantive chapters on trade and labor, trade and environment, and indigenous people.

It includes a commitment to immediately liberalize 132 eco-friendly products deemed to support green growth and sustainable development objectives, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Since its implementation, exports from New Zealand to Taiwan have increased 24.57 percent as of last September, while Taiwanese exports to New Zealand rose 14.97 percent, the Foreign Ministry said earlier this year.



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