Busy and productive year for red meat business, says Meat Industry Association

The largest amount of NZ beef ever was processed in the 2015-2016 year.

The Meat Industry Association, which represents New Zealand’s red meat processors, had a busy and productive year in 2015-2016.

The Meat Industry Association (MIA)’s annual report for the year ending June 2016 has just been released. That shows that its members earned New Zealand $7.5 billion in export revenue – $200 million more than the previous year.

mia-annual-report-2016Trade highlights include the export of the largest amount of New Zealand beef ever – 430,931 tonnes, worth $3.1 billion. Most of this went to North America, principally the US, but shipments to Canada also lifted by 36 percent to make it New Zealand’s fourth most valuable beef market. The second largest regional market was North Asia, where over half of the beef went to China. Exports to that market lifted by 46 percent in volume to 77,828 tonnes and 55 percent in value to $539 million.

Even though it was a more difficult year for sheepmeat, exports also grew in volume and value over the year by eight percent and two percent respectively to 409,207 tonnes and $2.99 billion. However, the increase in values achieved in the UK and the US was partially offset by a seven percent fall in the value of exports to China.

An increase in exports of high-value chilled sheepmeat cuts, was “the most pleasing aspect”, the report says. These grew by nine percent in volume to 71,322 tonnes and by 12 percent in value to $863 million.

The benefits of the NZ-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA), inked in 2008, have been apparent for the red meat sector over the subsequent seven years during which it has grown to become one of the sector’s most important markets. During 2015/16 the Meat Industry Association continued its work to deepen and mature relationships with Chinese trade counterparts, and to resolve outstanding market access and plant listing issues.

New FTAs starting to bear fruit

The report also highlights newer FTAs that are starting to bear fruit. The Economic Cooperation Agreement with Taiwan was signed at the beginning of 2015 and exports of New Zealand beef to that market in the year ending June 2016 grew 33 percent in volume to 26,041 tonnes and 38 percent in value to $211 million. In addition, the NZ-Korea FTA came into force on 1 January this year, reducing tariffs. The MIA believes this should see New Zealand maintain or recover market share there.

Meat industry focus is now supporting ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was signed in February this year. Once in place, the long-term benefits of the deal will be very significant for the New Zealand meat industry, notes MIA chairman John Loughlin in the report’s foreword.

“Not only will our Pacific trading partners reduce their tariffs, restoring a level playing field for New Zealand, but they will accept a trading rules system which is very much to the benefit of the New Zealand industry. MIA has been an active proponent of the TPP but there is more to be done,” he says.

Meat industry sights are also set on progressing NZ-EU FTA and furthering New Zealand’s important trade relationship with the UK, when it completes exit from the EU. The MIA is hopeful that the industry’s good long-term trade relationships with both will stand it in good stead during the forthcoming negotiations.

Other work

Other work for Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie and his staff in 2015-2016 included: advocacy for more practical immigration policies for halal slaughtermen; an update of the meat industry’s health and safety guidelines and development and promulgation of new standards; training initiatives, including the Primary ITO’s new Apprenticeship in Meat Boning; submission for the Emissions Trading Scheme review; industry innovation; progress towards a Government Industry Agreement (GIA) agreement on biosecurity; and input on new animal welfare standards for bobby calves.

During the year, industry also farewelled former MIA chairman Bill Falconer at the Red Meat Sector Conference where, after 15 years as the head of the trade association, Falconer was awarded the William Falconer Trophy for services to the meat industry.

The MIA Annual Report 2015-2016 is available for download at www.mia.co.nz.

Red meat sector 2015-2016

  • Total beef and sheep exports were $7.5 billion
  • Increase of $200 million over previous year
  • Record beef exports – 430,931 tonnes, worth $3.1 billion.
  • Exports of beef to China rose by 46% in volume and 55% in value
  • Sheepmeat exports up 8% in volume and 2% in value
  • Chilled sheepmeat cuts lifted 12% in value and 9% in volume
  • Edible offal exports increased to 68,006 tonnes, worth $238 million
  • Tripe shipments up 16% in volume and 28% in value
  • The US, China and the UK remain the most significant markets for the sector.

This article appeared in Food NZ magazine (October/November 2016) and is reproduced here with permission. 

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