B+LNZ, MIA and NZMB update on Brexit

It continues to be a highly uncertain time in the United Kingdom (UK) with the 31 October Brexit date less than three weeks away. There are still a range of scenarios which may play out in the next couple of days and weeks, including another extension to the exit deadline, or that the UK leaves the EU without a deal in place.
Friday, 11 October 2019

B+LNZ, MIA and NZMB update on Brexit

Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the New Zealand Meat Board, and the Meat Industry Association are prepared for the worst-case scenario of the UK leaving the European Union (EU) on 31 October 2019 without a deal, and have processes in place for trade to continue. 

Supporting the sector through this period of uncertainty remains a top priority for our respective organisations and the New Zealand government.

Andrew Morrison, B+LNZ Chairman; and Martin Coup, B+LNZ Director, are currently in London with Minister of Trade David Parker which is an opportunity to gain further insight into the unfolding situation but also register New Zealand’s interests and position around protecting our market access into the UK and EU markets.

The last few months in the UK have continued to be chaotic since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in July. Mr Johnson has sought to take a “tough” approach to negotiations with the EU which has involved insisting the UK will leave the EU on the 31 October “come what may”, but at the same time insisting his number one priority is to try to reach agreement with the EU on a deal if possible.

Mr Johnson has made attempts to resolve some of the contentious issues with Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement, however, his proposals have so far been rejected by the European Commission. In particular, his proposal for “two borders” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland was rejected swiftly for failing to protect the spirit and terms of the Good Friday Agreement which bought peace to the island of Ireland.

The EU Summit starting on 17 October is seen as the last opportunity for Mr Johnson to strike a deal with the EU before the current 31 October deadline, but this is looking increasingly unlikely given Mr Johnson’s lack of progress to date. 

The UK Parliament has legislated to insist that, if he has not secured a Brexit deal with the European Union by October 19th, he must seek an extension of the exit deadline.  Mr Johnson has indicated he is exploring ways to get around this parliamentary decision. Regardless the EU may decide not to extend the deadline again, although this is thought unlikely.

If the UK leaves the EU, then under the current proposals New Zealand’s WTO sheepmeat and beef quotas to the EU will be split between the two entities.  This is something we are vehemently opposed to.  If the deadline is extended again, then the status quo for New Zealand’s WTO access prevails.  

The situation is still very fluid situation.  We will continue to work closely with MPI and MFAT to gain clarity of the situation as it unfolds and to prepare for all eventualities to minimise disruptions to trade to the extent possible. We will keep you updated on any major developments.

If you would like more information or would like to talk to someone about Brexit and its implications for the sector, please feel free to contact:

Esther Guy-Meakin
Manager – International Trade
Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd
Email: esther.guy-meakin@beeflambnz.com
Phone: (04) 474 0848

Sirma Karapeeva
Trade and Economic Manager
Meat Industry Association
Email: sirma.karapeeva@mia.co.nz
Phone: (04) 495 8374