The debate over tariff rate quotas has been raging for months, with Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker saying he does not know where the debate will end.
The EU last week published the feedback it received on its plans to divide up the quotas, which allow imports at low or no tariffs below certain volumes, once the United Kingdom leaves the union.
In its formal submission, the New Zealand Government said there was “no need or justification” for the EU to change its quotas unilaterally, while there were alternative, less disruptive options available.
“It is difficult to understand why the EU – a long-standing champion of the rules-based multilateral trading system – would want to risk precipitating a potential spiral into unilateral withdrawal of commitments and potential retaliation in this way, as well as the reputational damage this could entail.”
The submission rejected the EU’s argument that it needed to urgently prepare for Brexit by changing its quota commitments, saying that was unnecessary while there was still a lack of clarity.
“None of our businesses – including EU producers and traders – can determine precisely how or when their trade interests will be affected in the current uncertain situation.”
New Zealand was not seeking “windfall gains” from the negotiations, but . . . . . .