*The EU-NZ trade agreement has now concluded. Read the latest update here.
Our trade policy team, currently in Brussels alongside the Meat Industry Association, were present when negotiations between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen for the European Union-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement concluded.
We are deeply disappointed and concerned at the poor-quality European Union-New Zealand trade deal, which will continue to put the red meat sector at a disadvantage in our third largest export market.
The deal will see only a small quota for New Zealand beef into the European Union - 10,000 tonnes into a market that consumes 6.5 million tonnes of beef annually - far less than the red meat sector’s expectations.
We have also been working to maintain New Zealand’s preferential access to other key markets including China and the United States.
Earlier this month, B+LNZ Chairman Andrew Morrison and General Manager for Policy and Advocacy Dave Harrison made our first visit to the United States in almost two-and-a-half years due to the pandemic.
They visited Washington DC and Denver to reengage with key industry stakeholders and discuss challenges and opportunities of mutual interest.
Andrew and Dave also visited the UK in May, along with Farmer Director Northern South Island and Deputy Chair Kate Acland and chief executive Sam McIvor.
The UK / New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is due to be ratified in January 2023 and the priority between now and then is to ensure that process runs as smoothly as possible.
“New Zealand’s trading ties with the UK span more than a century, and last month’s celebrations of the first successful shipment of frozen meat from Dunedin to London 140 years ago were a testament to our enduring relationship,” says Sam.
“During our recent visit to the UK, we reinforced our position as a trusted trading partner, with the highest production standards. We met with key MPs and industry groups to ensure strong parliamentary support for the FTA and reinforce New Zealand’s high animal welfare and environmental standards.”
Sam says the visit also provided an opportunity to allay any concerns around the new FTA, and that New Zealand products would flood the UK market.
“We were able to point to the diversity of our markets internationally. We export to 120 markets globally and our exporters are focused on building enduring relationships that will, overtime, achieve the best return for each part of the carcase.
“We also identified opportunities for collaboration with UK farming groups to achieve our shared goals and overcome shared challenges. UK farmers are facing similar issues around a spate of environmental regulations and negative media coverage.”
Climate change was also high on the agenda, with plenty of interest in promoting GWP* as a more accurate metric to assess livestock’s impact on warming. Like New Zealand, there is a high level of interest in sequestration, including soil carbon, particularly in Northern Ireland.
B+LNZ will also be working to forge joint initiatives in the UK to promote sheepmeat and beef as a healthy and nutritious necessity in consumers’ diets.
We will be providing further updates on trade and climate change in the coming weeks.