Trade policy and advocacy

Open and predictable market access is vital for the on-going success of our export-focused beef and sheep sector since over 90% of our production is exported to over 120 countries - find out how we're working to improve access for sheep and beef products to overseas markets.

A $7.5 billion industry

Exports of beef and sheepmeat, including associated co-products, accounted for NZ$7.5 billion in 2016.

Our work

We provide detailed background information and analysis to the Government to support bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral trade negotiations with other countries.

Breaking down non-tariff barriers

Significant gains have been made by the Government focusing on trade liberalisation and FTAs over recent decades, however in recent years there has been increased negative rhetoric around trade with the sector still facing significant tariffs and a large increase in the use of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) in recent years.

The sector paid approximately NZ$233 million in tariffs in 2016, with free-trade agreements saving more than NZ$211 million.

Working towards free trade agreements

Addressing non-tariff barriers and removing outstanding tariffs are a priority. Non-tariff barriers are often invisible and costlier than tariffs alone and have significant commercial consequences.

NTBs have been estimated to have cost the beef sector more than NZ$1 billion annually in the Asia Pacific region alone.

Our priorities

Specific priorities for the sector include working with Government to:

  • Maintain New Zealand’s preferential access into the EU and UK. The EU28 currently takes nearly 50% of New Zealand’s total global sheepmeat exports, worth almost NZ$1.3 billion
  • Concluding current trade negotiations (such as TPP minus one, RCEP, GCC and India)
  • Progressing new trade agreements (such as the EU/NZ FTA).


Previous trade negotiations have resulted in New Zealand securing country specific tariff quota access for some meat products. This gives NZ exporters access to specified markets for fixed quantities of certain products:

  • European Union – Sheepmeat, goatmeat and high quality beef
  • United States – beef and veal
  • Canada – beef and veal

The European Union and United States quotas are managed by the New Zealand Meat Board.

Find out more