NZ: Potato Exports Plummet in December Amid Dumping Claims
New Zealand’s potato trade is struggling as exports to some key markets plummeted in December, new figures show. The data shows fry exports were back nearly 40% in December compared to the same month a year earlier. Sales to the Philippines were down 77% and exports to New Zealand’s largest customer, Australia, were down nearly 50%.
Last year, a dispute broke out over claims European producers were dumping frozen fries into markets around the world. Potatoes New Zealand chief executive Chris Claridge believed that was a major factor in the drop in export.
“We can see increased numbers of European fries into markets we normally supply, that’s because they have to go somewhere,” Claridge said. “Europe traditionally exported about 400,000 metric tons of frozen fries and to put that into context, New Zealand’s total annual exports is the equivalent of two weeks of European exports,” he said. “So they have the ability to swamp markets.”
Claridge said the effects of Covid-19 on hospitality sectors around the world also affected the drop in exports. Despite the drop in some markets, Thailand showed plenty of interest in New Zealand potatoes in December, up more than 60% on the same time in 2019.
Claridge believed there was also dumping in the domestic market, and said that was why the industry took the matter to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for investigation. “Let me make it clear, as an industry, we absolutely support free trade but free trade doesn’t mean no rules and we are looking to stabilize and secure our domestic market.”