May 31, 2022

In advance of a meeting this week between European Union (EU) trade ministers, New Zealand’s red meat exporters have raised concerns over reports of, in their words, “a poor quality draft agricultural access offer”.

NZ red meat

With an end-of-June deadline approaching to conclude an agreement in principle on approaches to market access, New Zealand meat associations have stepped up the rhetoric given what they perceive as weak past offers. “If the reports are true, then New Zealand red meat exporters would continue to face a non-level playing field in the EU,” said Sirma Karapeeva, the CEO of Meat Industry Association (MIA).

She added: “We are not prepared to back a deal which offers poor access for our red meat to this important market and an outcome that would simply not be credible. The EU has been vocal about its ambition for a broad trade agreement, and as a long-standing partner with shared values and commitments to high standards, we will be extremely disappointed if the outcome doesn’t reflect this.”

Meat industry sees red on protectionism

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has been equally vocal. In a statement it said: “Agricultural protectionism sends a negative signal to trading partners and is in stark contrast to statements made by the EU Commission about the importance of trade liberalisation and openness, especially at a time where food security is a global concern.”

NZ New Zealand meat
Tariffs to the EU are currently high for New Zealand’s meat exporters.

Sam McIvor, CEO of B+LNZ, added: “While New Zealand and the EU have a long history of trade, we are one of the few countries that does not have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU, putting us in similar company to Russia, Iran, Pakistan and India. This means we are at a significant disadvantage compared with the EU’s FTA partners.”

New Zealand’s current beef market access to the EU is constrained by a tariff rate quota of 846 tonnes with an in-quota tariff of 20%. Exports outside of this quota are subject to tariffs of 12.8% of the value in addition to between €171.30 and €311.80 per 100kg. The end result is that the total tariff can effectively add up to 50%.

Karapeeva said: “Maintaining a small quota with an in-quota tariff will do nothing to further commercial opportunities and growth to meet consumer demand. We urge the New Zealand government to reject any poor quality agricultural access offer.”

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