UK exit from Europe this week removes some uncertainty

// International Trade

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union this week (31 January) and the beginning of negotiations with the EU during a transition period removes some of the uncertainty around Brexit and the impact on New Zealand, according to the Meat Industry Association (MIA) and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ).

The UK’s exit from the EU on 31 January is a political exit, with the UK’s existing trade relationship with the EU remaining in place until the transition period is completed or a bilateral trade agreement has been agreed and implemented between the two (whichever comes first), meaning there will be no change to New Zealand’s access until then.

“We encourage the UK and the EU to use the transition period to 31 December 2020 wisely to negotiate the terms of their bilateral trade relationship,” says Sirma Karapeeva, Trade and Economic Manager at MIA.

“Once this is in place, third party countries such as New Zealand will have a great deal more certainty about the trading conditions.” 

Esther Guy-Meakin, B+LNZ's Senior Manager, International Trade, says the red meat sector has worked collaboratively with the New Zealand Meat Board and the New Zealand Government to prepare for Brexit.

“We have invested heavily in contingency planning, particularly around administrative issues, quota management and export documentation. This gives the sector some confidence to continue to trade into both the UK and EU markets.

“Depending on the EU/UK bilateral trade agreement, there is still some uncertainty about how the market will respond, particularly if the UK is unable to secure favourable rules for its meat exports to the EU. This will have consequences for third party countries, including New Zealand who are trading into both markets.” 

Amongst other things, the prolonged uncertainty over Brexit has led to a decrease in exports to the UK. The overall value of the UK market for New Zealand sheepmeat is now down 19% since 2016.

“We are supportive of a UK/NZ FTA negotiation once the UK is able to engage in this process and believes it is an opportunity to strike a high-quality, ambitious and comprehensive deal,” says Ms Karapeeva.

“The current EU/NZ trade negotiations are underway and the red meat sector is looking for an outcome that builds on its current WTO access rights.”


For more information please contact B+LNZ’s Senior Communications Advisor Gwynn Compton on 027 838 6353, MIA’s Trade and Economic Manager Sirma Karapeeva on 021 256 5347, or B+LNZ’s Senior Manager International Trade Esther Guy-Meakin on 027 279 3909.