Fruit and vegetable prices increased almost 9% in the year ending December 2020, boosting overall food price inflation to 2.9%, Stats NZ announced today.
Potatoes New Zealand (PNZ) has been informed that the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) trade remedies team is now investigating the issue after it was raised by the lobby group.
In a statement, PNZ says the MBIE decision was based on the positive evidence the industry provided in their application completed in September this year.
The application was in response to the threat posed to the NZ potato processing sector by dumped imports of surplus European frozen fries. This threat, combined with the effects of supply chain disruption caused by Covid-19, created an extraordinary situation that required investigation, PNZ says.
“At the time of the application, the surplus in Europe was 1.5 million tonnes; today it is estimated at 2.6M tonnes and growing by the minute, due to the impacts of further lockdowns in parts of Europe.
“This situation is not unique to the NZ potato industry. In recent months, the US and Australia have also called for duties or actions to limit what they see as under-priced EU fry imports.
“Other NZ industries may also be facing trade threats as a consequence of Covid-19 and PNZ has led the way in New Zealand, by quickly utilising the toolbox available through the World Trade Organisation and MBIE.”
The MBIE investigation could take up to six months.