Hear Vangelis’s update on Brexit, EU/NZ FTA and UK/NZ FTA negotiations and an update from B+LNZ’s Trade Policy team.
Vangelis Vitalis, New Zealand’s top trade negotiator and Deputy Secretary of Trade & Economic for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (MFAT), explained how the global trade policy environment has significantly deteriorated in the last three years, a trend that COVID-19 has accelerated. He saw four major challenges: the global shock from COVID-19, uncertainty, the rise of protectionism, and the absence of leadership from the bigger economies to push back on protectionism.
In this context, Vangelis provided an update on the Brexit process and New Zealand’s FTA negotiations with the EU and UK respectively, emphasising that New Zealand’s red meat market access was a top priority for MFAT in all of these processes.
In particular, MFAT were continuing to push back on attempts by the EU and UK to limit New Zealand’s WTO sheepmeat and beef access as a result of Brexit and Vangelis noted the Government had not ruled out any options to ensure that New Zealand was not left worse off.
“Our partnership and close collaboration with B+LNZ, other industry partners and farmers is a vital ingredient to successfully working through these challenges,” says Vangelis.
B+LNZ advocates on your behalf
Stephanie Honey, B+LNZ’s Senior Manager – International Trade, explained some of the work B+LNZ has been doing on behalf of farmers to support these negotiations, including working closely with the Government, the Meat Industry Association (MIA) and using B+LNZ’s two representatives in Brussels and Washington to engage with other agricultural industry groups and governments.
“Our goal is to focus on stable, predictable and accessible markets. In collaboration with our industry partners we are constantly analysing the markets, looking ahead to the future and identifying issues so that we can resolve them together with the Government.”
Farmers have consistently told us market access is a top priority for what they want B+LNZ to be working on and we’ll continue to update you on our work in this space.