International trade was front and centre of discussions at the Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA) conference in Cairns, Australia, last week.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) chair-elect James Parsons led New Zealand’s participation in the annual conference of beef cattle producer organisations from Canada, the US, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. B+LNZ chief executive Scott Champion and general manager market access Ben O’Brien also attended alongside three ‘Young Ranchers’ Richard Morrison of Marton, Pete Fitz-Herbert of Hunterville and Lauren McWilliam (of Masterton).
The key action was the signing of a position statement on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
Parsons says the FNBA position on TPP mirrors similar statements promoted by B+LNZ, Fonterra and agriculture groups in the US. It calls for a comprehensive TPP agreement without product exclusions, especially in agriculture, and for all tariffs and other market access barriers to be eliminated in the TPP region. The FNBA also wants negotiating countries to push for arrangement where beef producers are all treated the same.
“It’s great to see that our views on the need for a strong trade agreement that addresses the issues of both now, and those of growing importance, are shared by our FNBA partners. New Zealand beef producers indirectly pay $115 per head in tariffs, so any reduction due to a successful TPP will flow through to greater farm profits.”
Beneficial discussions were held on a number of important issues, including sustainability, with the guiding principle that sustainability encompasses environmental impact, consumer and society expectations as well as producer profitability.
New Zealand’s Young Rancher participants worked with those from the other FNBA countries to confront industry challenges and to identify opportunities to work together to support a vibrant and prosperous future for their industry.