As predicted by Rural News, New Zealand and the EU have concluded an historic and long awaited free trade agreement – a deal which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says will save us $100 million in tariffs in the first year the deal takes effect and a further $10 million in the future.
B+LNZ’s chief executive Sam McIvor and general manager policy and advocacy Dave Harrison will join board chair Andrew Morrison and board member Kate Acland to the United Kingdom and European Union.
The trip will see the team meet agricultural counterparts, farmers, government officials and politicians in the UK and the EU in support of furthering 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 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,” he says.
“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.”
McIvor says the visit to the UK is aimed at building support for the ratification of the trade deal with the country while allaying concerns B+LNZ’s British counterparts may have.
“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.”
B+LNZ chair Andrew Morrison says farmers across the globe 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,” Morrison says.
“New Zealand has been a longstanding and trusted trade partner of both the EU and the UK and the NZMB [New Zealand Meat Board] provides support to facilitate trade to those quota markets for New Zealand exporters.”
He says the centenary of the NZMB, taking place this year, provides an opportunity to reflect on the trade relationship between Europe and New Zealand and look to the future.
“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.”