For the first time since COVID-19 travel restrictions were implemented, Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) leaders will be heading to key export markets to advocate abroad on behalf of New Zealand farmers.
B+LNZ’s Chief Executive Sam McIvor and General Manager Policy and Advocacy Dave Harrison will accompany members of the B+LNZ Board, Andrew Morrison (Chairman) and Kate Acland to the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU).
The trip also includes celebrations to mark the New Zealand Meat Board (NZMB) Centenary with events planned in London and Brussels.
The visit will be a whistle stop tour with the team meeting agricultural counterparts, farmers, government officials, and politicians in the UK and the EU in support of further developing New Zealand’s relationships through bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).
“The UK and EU have always been important markets for our sector, with the first sheepmeat exported from Dunedin to London in 1882,” says Mr McIvor.
“The recently signed UK FTA will provide improved access for New Zealand red meat products, particularly beef and this will translate back into better returns for New Zealand farmers.
“The New Zealand Government trade negotiators, supported by B+LNZ’s trade policy team and in partnership with the Meat Industry Association (MIA), have worked hard to secure this ambitious, comprehensive and high-quality FTA.
“It is important that the trade agreement is ratified and implemented so New Zealand can secure the benefits of improved access to this market.
“This visit to the UK will be aimed at building support for the successful ratification of the trade deal and allaying any concerns.
“While we understand that some British agricultural organisations are apprehensive about the FTA, we want to reassure them that New Zealand is a reliable and trusted trading partner.
“As well as improved outcomes for trade, the FTA will provide a solid base for future cooperation between NZ and UK farming organisations. The same principles apply to any future trade agreement with the EU and the farming organisations in member states.”
Mr Morrison says farmers across the world share the same challenges such as climate change, changing consumer demands, and improving their farming practices.
“We believe these areas offer opportunities for collaboration between British, EU, and New Zealand farmers, rather than competition.
“New Zealand has been a longstanding and trusted trade partner of both the EU and the UK and the NZMB provides support to facilitate trade to those quota markets for New Zealand exporters. The centenary of the NZMB provides an opportunity to reflect on this historical trade and look towards the future, where New Zealand continues to supply British and European consumers with high-quality, sustainably produced sheepmeat and beef.
“The EU market is an important export destination for New Zealand sheepmeat, although our access for beef is restricted by small quotas with high in quota tariffs.
“With the EU FTA negotiations entering their final phase, having B+LNZ senior leaders there to support the New Zealand Government demonstrates our commitment to the market and will improve our chances of getting an outcome that delivers real benefits to New Zealand sheep and beef farmers.”
For more information, please contact B+LNZ’s Communication Advisor Abigail Delaney at Abigail.Delaney@beeflambnz.com or 027 209 9891.