Exports are the lifeblood of the sheep and beef sector with 92 percent of New Zealand’s sheepmeat production and 80 percent percent of beef production exported and so it’s great to see a refresh of the trade agenda to support competitiveness in an increasingly challenging global trading environment.
Beef + Lamb NZ (B+LNZ Ltd) chief executive, Sam McIvor, and Meat Industry Association (MIA) chief executive, Tim Ritchie say agricultural exports continue to face major barriers around the world, such as high tariffs, increasing use of non-tariff barriers and domestic subsidies. The new trade strategy has never been more important.
“The sheep and beef sector is New Zealand’s second-largest goods export income earner, with over $7.4 billion last year. This supported about 60,000 direct jobs on farms and in processing companies as well as thousands more jobs in other sectors across both urban and rural communities,” McIvor says.
“Successive New Zealand governments have achieved significant trade outcomes that have benefited our industry (such as being the first developed country to negotiate an free trade agreement with China). The government has had a clear vision of what industry needs to maintain and grow our trade access globally,” Ritchie comments.
“We strongly support the continued focused on free trade agreements (FTAs). Last year our industry saved approximately NZ$211 million in tariffs as a result of the FTAs that are in force, including with China, Taiwan and Thailand. But there is still more to be done.
“For example, we have lost market share in Japan because of the high tariffs on New Zealand beef. The Trade Agenda 2030 confirms a direction of travel which should help to address this going forward,” says McIvor.
Ritchie said the sector was highly supportive of the greater emphasis in the strategy on tackling non-tariff barriers.
“Our industry is experiencing a significant increase in regulatory and non-regulatory requirements that can either block our trade or make it very expensive. Addressing NTBs and removing the outstanding tariffs will help to level the playing field for New Zealand companies,” says Ritchie.
The NZIER estimates that NTBs in the Asia Pacific region cost the New Zealand beef industry alone approximately US$768 million a year.
It is vital for the Government to remain focused on trade liberalisation and the announcement of additional resources for government to further improve market access and tackle NTBs is key to this, says Ritchie.
“We look forward to continuing to work openly and collaboratively with government on trade matters for the benefit of the sector and New Zealand as a whole.”
$35.3m to support primary sector exporters
Announcing the new Trade Agenda last Friday, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Trade Minister Todd McClay welcomed new funding of $35.3 million to help support New Zealand’s primary sector exporters, such as meat exporters, succeed in overseas markets.
The funding, announced as part of the launch of Trade Agenda 2030 today, will be made available to the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) over the next four years as part of Budget 2017.
“The primary sector is vitally important to the New Zealand economy, earning around $36 billion a year, supporting thousands of jobs and exporting to around 130 countries. It’s important the Government continues to support the sector through creating new and improved trade links,” says Guy.
“Barriers to trade cost our exporters billions, and entering new markets can be complex so Trade Agenda 2030 brings a renewed focus on helping our exporters address these issues and making them more competitive.
“This funding will help them overcome such barriers, navigate international regulatory requirements and further resource efforts to improve trade access issues.”
The new funding will:
- Increase MPI presence in Europe and South East Asia.
- Establish an Export Regulatory Advice Service to help exporters navigate complex regulatory environments. This will include guidance, case studies and proactive support.
- Accelerate work on priority non-tariff barriers, which are a major issue for primary sector exporters. This will include gathering information and making it easier for exporters to seek government advice and assistance.
- Expand MPI’s Economic Intelligence Unit to provide market insights and economic information to support exporters and Government agencies. This will help identify market opportunities and develop export strategies.
- Support work on market access, systems audit, and assurance and monitoring.
McClay says while Trade Agenda 2030 looks to expand New Zealand’s good and services exports into new and diverse markets, we must also focus on getting the best out of the high-quality trade deals New Zealand already has in place.
“MFAT and MPI work closely together both domestically and internationally to resolve non-tariff barriers as they arise.
“These barriers cost our economy hundreds of millions of dollars every year, so improving the resources available to fight these impediments to trade is an excellent way of increasing the value of existing trade deals.”
You can read a summary of the Government’s Trade Agenda 2030 here
New all of government approach to NTBs
Exporters will also welcome the new all-of-government approach to tackling non-tariff barriers (NTBs), announced with the package, which McClay says will deliver real benefits to business.
The Clearing House ensures that New Zealand exporters will be able to access the best information and support on trade barriers in a single place.
“We know non-tariff barriers can impose significant delays and costs on New Zealand exporters, making them less competitive, so the quicker we learn about and act on them, the better,” McClay says.
McClay says MFAT had been trialling a Clearing House concept with NZTE for the NTBs that businesses raise with them.
“As part of this, we have set targets for NTB enquiries to be followed up within 48 hours,” Mr McClay says
“It is now time to make this service available to all exporters he said. We will be creating an online portal for businesses who have NTB concerns to more easily access vital information and interact with government agencies,”
As well as a centralised online point of contact for exporters, the Clearing House will:
- Make it easier for exporters to report issues, seek government advice and assistance with NTBs and other export issues.
- Track and trace the assignment and resolution issues across agencies on behalf of the exporter.
- Provide the Government with an accurate and up-to-date understanding of NTB and other export issues facing exporters.
- Enable the collection and interpretation of data regarding the NTB and other export issues
- Ensure NTB enquiries are dealt with in a timely fashion
The Clearing House and online portal will be jointly developed by developed by Customs, MFAT, MPI, MBIE, and NZTE, and is to be funded from baselines.
More information can be found here.