Comment: Catching up at start of 2018

2018

Its 2018 … Happy New Year to you all! It’s a good start too. We’ve been catching up with recent news and it seems the red meat sector needs to hit the ground running with the impending signing of the CPTPP in March, trade talks continuing with the UK, but with a PGP review to come which has the potential to impact on some pretty important work.

News of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) being signed in early March in Chile  is excellent news for New Zealand and particularly for this sector.

A statement from Beef + Lamb NZ (B+LNZ Ltd) and the Meat Industry Association welcomed the conclusion of negotiations in Tokyo, noting the resolution by officials of the outstanding issues.

Sam McIvor, chief executive of B+LNZ, says the conclusion of the agreement represents good news for sheep and beef farmers and all New Zealanders.

“The sector understands there have been no changes to the original market access conditions which will open multiple markets in Japan, Mexico, Peru and Canada where New Zealand red meat faces tariffs of up to 50 per cent.

“It will also benefit communities in New Zealand as exports from the sector support 80,000 jobs and families across New Zealand.”

The CPTPP will put New Zealand on a level playing field with other major red meat exporters to the Asia-Pacific region, such as Australia and the European Union – especially in Japan where the sector has already lost significant market share, says MIA chief executive Tim Ritchie.

“B+LNZ and MIA thank Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Trade Minister David Parker, and the numerous officials who have worked hard to conclude the negotiations.”

The NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF) and the EMA have both also commended the Labour Party for continuing the bi-partisan approach to trade and building on the work of the previous government.

“This is tremendous news and a big win for New Zealand, particularly as we will have access to markets such as Japan and Mexico. Agreements such as the CPTPP open doors to markets we would not otherwise have access to,” comments EMA chief executive Kim Campbell.

Trade builds prosperity and agreements, such as the CPTPP, are key building blocks to a connected, vibrant economy, he says.

NZIBF executive director Stephen Jacobi notes the agreement reached in Tokyo preserves the original access package of TPP and suspends a number of other elements including intellectual property (copyright and patents) as well as aspects of investor state dispute settlement (ISDS). Other remaining obstacles to concluding the agreement have now been overcome and all eleven members, including Canada have agreed to meet in Chile on 8 March to sign the agreement.

Of course, Australia and Canada are amongst those also celebrating the news, making it even more important for New Zealand to keep ahead of its competitors

UK

Other trade talks continue, particularly with the UK in the wake of the Brexit negotiations.

Minister for Trade David Parker recently headed to London to meet with David Davis, the British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and with Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Agriculture.

Parker says New Zealand is a natural partner for the UK.

“We enjoy a close friendship based on deep cultural and historical links, shared values and our long history of working together internationally. We also share a commitment to open markets and progressive and inclusive trading arrangements,” he says.

During a recent visit to New Zealand by the UK’s International Trade Minister Liam Fox, the two discussed ways to strengthen the bilateral trade and economic ties.

“This means ensuring we will not be disadvantaged as a result of Brexit, as well as moved quickly to seize new opportunities,” says Parker. They would include a comprehensive, modern and high quality trade agreement with the UK, once it leaves the EU.

PGP review

Here at home, the Primary Growth Partnerships review will be getting underway. The pre-break request for submissions by January 14 has been criticised by National Party agriculture spokesman Nathan Guy who described it as an “impossibly small window” for feedback to be given by industry. He has pointed to the lack of new funding allocated to programmes while the review analysis is underway, a process that could take several months, he says.

“This all comes on the back of raising $17 million from the PGP to fund an unnecessary rebranding of MPI,” he asserts.

Projects funded by the PGP include the Red Meat Profit Partnership which has six different meat entities working together to add value in the meat sector, he says.

Here’s hoping for a positive and inclusive year ahead.

 

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