The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has launched the investigation into what Potatoes NZ says is a proven threat of surplus fries being imported into NZ.
In September, Potatoes NZ filed for an anti-dumping tariff application amid fears of the imported frozen fries posing a real threat to NZ’s $1 billion potato industry.
The industry claimed frozen chips were being dumped on the NZ market from frozen potato products originating from Belgium and The Netherlands, with the growing inventory of frozen fries threatening to wipe out NZ’s entire domestic potato processing industry.
The situation has arisen through the impacts of the covid-19 global pandemic supply chain disruption in hospitality industries worldwide.
The application to MBIE called for anti-dumping duties to avoid decimation of NZ’s domestic potato industry.
Potatoes NZ chief executive Chris Claridge says it’s a relief to learn that MBIE has launched an investigation into the proven threat of surplus frozen fries being dumped into NZ.
The MBIE decision was based on the positive evidence the NZ potato industry provided in its application as part of its covid-19 pandemic industry recovery plan.
“The dumping and threat, combined with the effects of supply chain disruption caused by covid-19, created an extraordinary situation that required investigation,” Claridge said.
At the time of the application the surplus in Europe was 1.5 million tonnes, it is now estimated to be 2.6 million tonnes and growing by the day because of further lockdown in parts of Europe.
Claridge says the situation is not unique to NZ, with both the United States and Australia also calling for duties of action to limit what they see as under-priced EU fries imports.
“Other NZ industries may also be facing trade threats because of covid-19 and Potatoes NZ has led the way in NZ by quickly utilising the toolbox available through the World Trade Organisation and MBIE,” Claridge said.
It is expected the investigation may take up to six months, meantime the Belgium and Dutch embassies, foreign exporters, and NZ importers have been notified.