Import tariffs will be held at their 1 July 2009 levels until 30 June 2011 and a decision on the timing of any further review of import tariff levels will be made in mid-2009, Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel announced today.
"New Zealand businesses, and particularly manufacturers, need certainty about tariff levels over the next three years so they can make well-informed operational and investment decisions.
"We're not going to make decisions on the timing of any further tariff review until mid 2009, in light of the trade negotiations currently underway."
Lianne Dalziel said it made sense to defer the timing of any further unilateral tariff review until there was more clarity around the outcomes of key comprehensive trade agreements New Zealand is negotiating, such as the FTA with ASEAN member countries and the multilateral WTO Doha Round.
There has been significant acceleration of New Zealand’s trade negotiations agenda with free trade agreements already concluded with Singapore/Chile/Brunei and Thailand and negotiations completed with China.
Free trade agreement negotiations continue with a number of partners, notably the ASEAN member countries and the Gulf Cooperation Council states. By mid-2009, there may be more certainty around whether other key FTA negotiations are likely to proceed.
The last scheduled unilateral reduction of tariffs takes place on 1 July 2009 when the highest tariffs (mainly on clothing, footwear and carpet) reduce to 10 per cent. From 1 July 2008 remaining tariffs, on a range of mainly manufactured goods, will reduce to 5 percent.