Trade liberalisation focus of IBA talks in Paraguay

Sam McIvor
Sam McIvor.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) welcomes the International Beef Alliance’s (IBA) commitment to trade reform and liberalisation, sustainable beef production and ensuring confidence amongst global beef consumers following another successful conference.

International Beef AllianceThe IBA annual conference was held in Paraguay this year from 15 – 20 October with B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor, director George Tatham, and Young Leaders Mark Murphy and Dani Darke attending the event.

B+LN chief executive Sam McIvor, says the IBA’s primary focus was discussing trade liberalisation.

“This year discussion focused on encouraging progress on eliminating trade distorting agricultural subsidies at the upcoming WTO Ministerial in Argentina; concerns about the various implications of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union; and sharing information about each country’s various free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations, including Trans-Pacific Partnership-11.”

Discussion reflected concern over the unknown effect of the Brexit process on global beef and protein markets. IBA members strongly encourage both the EU and UK to consult jointly with all WTO members during this process. Outcomes which cause trade diversions, distortions and restrictions should be avoided.

“There was also strong interest within the group to increase collaboration on the tackling of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) to trade,“ says McIvor.

On NTBs, the IBA was unanimous in calling for alleviation of unscientific and unjustified impediments. Members committed to exchanging insights and working collectively, where appropriate, in removing NTBs which impose unwarranted costs on value chains.

The organisations also shared information about steps they were taking to improve the sustainability of beef production; and discussed consumer trends such as alternative proteins and how to position beef as a premium protein, he says.

In addition to trade, the IBA is an important vehicle for sharing information about broad policy developments and consumer trends, to ensure that beef remains positioned globally as a premium and preferred protein.

The membership also reinforced the importance of local and global initiatives to ensure sustainable beef production. IBA believes actions taken domestically should improve the environmental and social aspects of their beef production systems and also promote rural economies. Members are committed to explore opportunities for greater collaboration in this area into the future, and safe guard compliance with local legislation.

The IBA represents the beef producing organisations of seven of the largest beef producers and exporters in the world including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Paraguay and New Zealand.  Overall the members represent around 63 percent of global trade in beef.

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