Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations are still live and kicking and bi-lateral consultations are underway ahead of the next lead negotiators meeting next month.
Beef + Lamb NZ (B+LNZ)’s chief executive Dr Scott Champion recently returned from a visit to the US, where he pressed home the need for comprehensive tariff elimination in the TPP.
He met with the leadership of several major US trade and farming associations, including B+LNZ’s US counterparts, the US Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the American Sheep Industry Association, as well as state and federal government agencies, members of the US congress and US and New Zealand businesses.
All of Dr Champion’s meetings had a focus on driving home B+LNZ’s key objectives in the TPP of achieving comprehensive tariff elimination and meaningful new market access opportunities across all countries.
“It is evident that TPP is entering its final stages and that tough decisions on countries’ most sensitive products will soon need to be dealt with,” he says. “Our message remained clear that we require comprehensive, meaningful, duty-free access to all TPP markets. We also highlighted the need for identical market access offers for all beef exporting countries.”
Dr Champion was encouraged to see the benefits of B+LNZ’s membership and participation in the Five Nations Beef Alliance demonstrated throughout the visit. He noted that the alliance’s joint statements were including in briefing packs for Members of Congress during agricultural trade meetings and that the collective beef voice is “clearly having a unique and useful impact in Washington DC and on Capitol Hill.”
The beef industry also raised frustration with the amount of time it is taking to address US mandatory country of origin labelling rules and the focus on water and drought issues was another point of common interest with New Zealand’s beef and lamb producers.
The US visit underlined the importance of maintaining strong relationships in the key market for New Zealand’s red meat exports.
“The US remains New Zealand’s largest beef market and we have many shared interests with respect to both the US and New Zealand’s access to export markets,” said Champion. “Given this, it’s important that we are building stronger relationships with our US counterparts and gaining a better understanding of the US market and US agricultural issues.”
Prime Minister John Key is in Washington this week and attended a US/NZ Council and US Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting on 19 June and will meet US President Barack Obama to ‘highlight the US’ increasingly close relationship with New Zealand and collaboration on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, climate change, and military-to-military cooperation’.
In addition, Trade Minister Tim Groser attended the Pacific Alliance Summit in Punta Milta, Mexico this week and is travelling to Washington and New York. During his numerous meetings, he is engaging with policy, decision-makers and business groups on trade and agriculture related topics, including TPP.
For more information about TPP visit www.tradeworks.org.nz.