Tuesday, 07 May 2024 08:43

Potential UAE trade deal would boost red meat exports

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
NZ Trade Minister Todd McClay with UAE Minister of State for Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi. Photo Credit: @toddmcclaymp/Twitter NZ Trade Minister Todd McClay with UAE Minister of State for Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi. Photo Credit: @toddmcclaymp/Twitter

The red meat sector is welcoming the start of trade negotiations between New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

With the UAE already NZ’s second largest market in the Gulf Cooperation Council after Saudi Arabia, a free trade agreement would further boost exports of frozen beef and lamb and wool.

The UAE is an important market for New Zealand’s red meat sector, generating $47 million of export earnings in 2023. High-value chilled beef is the most valuable export sub-category to the UAE, worth $31 million in 2023, making the UAE New Zealand’s fourth largest chilled beef market behind the US, China, and Japan.

The Meat Industry Association says a high-quality and comprehensive agreement would further open opportunities to increase trade between the two countries.

MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva says existing exports to the UAE have been supported by New Zealand’s internationally recognised reputation as a supplier of high-quality halal products and the zero tariff on chilled beef and lamb products.

“A high-quality and comprehensive agreement would open the door to reduce tariffs on other products that we export to the Middle East including frozen beef and lamb, and wool.

“That would represent a boost for our exporters, particularly as our industry looks to support the Government to meet its goal of doubling the value of New Zealand’s exports over the next decade.”

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Sam McIvor said the UAE is among the world’s wealthiest economies.

“There is increasing demand in the market for the high-quality, safe, sustainable, and nutritious products that the sector produces.

“What has underpinned the success of our export strategy over the last couple of decades has been to have as many open markets as possible, so we have options for capturing the highest price possible for all cuts for our farmers. 

“Not only will our farmers and exporters benefit from such an agreement, we know that export growth benefits all New Zealanders so its critically important that a comprehensive agreement succeeds.”

Trade Minister Todd McClay, who is in Dubai this week, announced yesterday that New Zealand and the UAE will commence negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA).

McClay met with his counterpart UAE Trade Minister Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi in Dubai, where they announced the launch of negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and discussed strengthening economic ties between New Zealand and the UAE.

“The UAE is an important bilateral partner for New Zealand, and today’s launch of negotiations is an exciting step towards growing our significant trade and economic relationship” McClay says.

This follows the conclusion of successful exploratory discussions, as well as public consultation, which demonstrated the importance of pursuing a high-quality agreement to boost our economy and unlock greater export opportunities.

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