Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ Ltd) director George Tatham, who recently attended the Five Nations Beef Alliance in Mexico, says that new members from Paraguay and Mato Grosso in Brazil will add a new dimension to the group, now called the International Beef Alliance.
The Five Nation’s Beef Alliance has been very effective in creating a strong single voice from the beef industry in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, said Tatham.
“The Five Nations Beef Alliance as it was then, was a unique grouping in the negotiations providing a clear and consistent message to the TPP negotiators. As a result, the beef sector has probably achieved the best outcome of all the agricultural commodity groups.
“Having Paraguay and Mato Grosso, the largest beef producing state in Brazil, joining the group can only add to our strength as a beef producers’ representative group.
“It has been very stimulating to have the opportunity to discuss with representatives from Paraguay and Brazil the opportunities and issues for the beef industry that are similar across all our regions.”
Tatham said the new members are committed to the same principles as the five founding nations, including the importance of removing all barriers to trade, particularly non-tariff barriers, producing beef sustainably and providing consumers with an excellent beef eating experience.
The global market for beef is continuing to increase, now over $59 billion and growing, adding $17 billion in the last four years, he said.
“All the projections are for a continuing increase in beef consumption, particularly in the Latin American and Asia Pacific regions. Facilitating beef trade around the globe is going to be absolutely essential to ensure that consumers in these markets have access to an important protein source without artificial barriers to trade.
“We need to be on a level playing field with other foods and beef is one of the most regulated foods in global trade. It makes no sense to have unnecessary bureaucracy and costs in the global food trade at a time when the global population is increasing and the planet’s resources are stretched,” Tatham said.
“Joining together as beef producers is the only way to dismantle the morass of regulatory barriers that contribute only to increased beef prices to consumers without any matching benefit.”
The International Beef Alliance met last week in Mazatlan in Mexico. As well as admitting new members, Paraguay and Mato Grosso from Brazil, the beef producer representative organisations from Canada, US, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand agreed a strategy for working together in the interests of the global beef industry.
“We are stronger together than we are alone and that applies to New Zealand more than anyone,” Tatham said.