Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) are delighted that the European Union and New Zealand are set to progress negotiations for a free trade agreement, as announced by Prime Minister John Key in Brussels on Friday.
The European Union (EU) is a very significant export market for New Zealand red meat products, worth nearly NZ$1.9 billion for the year ended December 2014. The EU is New Zealand’s largest market by region for sheepmeat exports, and second-largest for chilled beef and wool exports.
B+LNZ chairman James Parsons says New Zealand still faces a range of significant tariff and non-tariff barriers in this market. New Zealand pays around $70 million in tariffs per year on its red meat exports to the EU.
“In addition, many of our competitors in this market have already reached free trade agreements with the EU, such as Canada, or are already in the process of negotiating, such as the United States. New Zealand is one of only six World Trade Organisation (WTO) member countries that had yet to enter into trade negotiations with the EU.
“This is an exciting opportunity to explore an ambitious, high quality agreement with an important market for our sheep and beef exports. An EU-NZ FTA has the potential to ensure New Zealand’s competitiveness with other red meat exporters to this market,” Parsons says.
MIA chairman Bill Falconer says New Zealand has a long established relationship with the European red meat sector, and New Zealand product complements seasonal production patterns in Europe to provide consumers’ with high-quality, safe meat products all year round.
“Securing an FTA with the European Union is the logical next step in strengthening our trade relationship. It will not only create a more formal trade framework but will also support greater participation in global value chains by both sides,” he says.
“We look forward to working together with the New Zealand government and European organisations to generate new opportunities for the agriculture and food sectors under an EU-NZ FTA.