Tuesday, 05 February 2019 09:21

Brexit blowout prep

Written by  Peter Burke
Britain crashing out of the EU will be detrimental to NZ meat exporters. Britain crashing out of the EU will be detrimental to NZ meat exporters.

The meat industry is preparing for Britain to crash out of the EU on March 29.

Beef + Lamb NZ’s general manager policy and advocacy, Dave Harrison, told Rural News that while BLNZ hopes this won’t happen it is making preparations.

He says the UK political situation over Brexit remains in limbo as politicians struggle to agree among themselves as the clock ticks down to the ‘leave’ date.

“We are actively planning for the worst-case scenario,” said Harrison. “We are hoping that this will be a lost investment, but we are investing in the software and the computer programming we need to have to run a split quota system if need be. 

“We are talking to exporters about what it means for allocation systems so there is actually a heap of work going on to make sure that on March 29 – if the worst happens – we are as prepared as we can be.”

Harrison sees a real possibility that Britain will crash out and that will be detrimental to NZ meat exporters. 

An issue of concern is the arbitrary splitting of the sheep and beef quotas when Britain leaves the EU. Britain and the EU have agreed that there should be a 50/50 split of the sheepmeat quota and a 65/35 split for beef.

“Our argument is that splitting the quota doesn’t represent the full value of the quota,” Harrison explains.

“Because being able to send a certain amount of product to one country and then a certain amount to another 27 countries isn’t the same as being able to send it anywhere in 28 countries, which is the case at present.” 

He says the issue may need to be sorted out through the World Trade Organisation (WTO) under whose rules the original quota was set.

Another issue relates to the onward shipping of product once it reaches Europe. Often cargo destined for the UK will initially arrive in, say, the port of Rotterdam and then be trans-shipped to its main destination, which is Britain. But he says it’s hard to understand what might happen under Brexit.

Harrison and a colleague are heading to Europe in the next week or so to talk to customs officials and try to clarify the situation. 

He is hoping to get changes to the certification system, which would make things easier. 

» Connect with Rural News

More like this

NZ needs a better story

New Zealand needs to do a better job of telling its story in India, said a speaker at a New Zealand India Business Council summit.

A lesson in political science

The Zero Carbon Bill has just been passed into law, but not without significant misgivings from across the farming sector.

Deal done on ETS

Dealing with agricultural emissions is very much on the radar of farmers, says Beef + Lamb NZ chief executive Sam McIvor.

Milk price hike a surprise and relief

Fonterra's farmgate milk price forecast upgrade was a welcome surprise although indicators were heading that way, says Federated Farmers dairy chair Chris Lewis.

» The RNG Weather Report

Featured

 

Getting on top of a lousy problem

For strong wool sheep, lice infection is a nuisance more than a hefty financial cost. But, for fine wool sheep the financial toll is much greater. 

» Connect with Rural News

» Connect with Rural News

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Useless

The Hound notes that one of the country’s poorest financially performing state-owned enterprises – the Government farming entity Landcorp (or…

Rural revolt

Your old mate hears that the antics of the Government – especially the NZ First component – are fuelling motivation…

» Connect with Rural News