Print this page

Welsh rural minister in bid to strengthen New Zealand links

  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size

April 09, 2018  -  Wales' Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths is in New Zealand to "strengthen links between the two countries" ahead of Brexit.

On her week-long visit Lesley Griffiths will meet politicians and meat exporters.

The trip comes despite her previous warnings that a post-Brexit UK-New Zealand free trade deal could "destroy" the Welsh lamb industry.

She said there is a lot Wales and New Zealand can learn from each other.

Speaking ahead of her visit Ms Griffiths said: "Like Wales, New Zealand is a small outward-facing, globally trading nation and I believe there is a lot we can learn from each other."

Ms Griffiths will visit the Auckland and Manawatu regions to see dairy, sheep and beef farms.

She will also meet representatives of the country's main exporters including dairy company Fonterra which accounts for 25% of the country's exports.

"This visit will enable us to learn from their food and drinks industry - a key sector for us post-Brexit," she said.

"It is also an opportunity to hear about New Zealand's experiences in managing significant change in agricultural policy which is particularly timely as we work to secure a resilient and thriving industry in Wales after leaving the EU."

The UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019 ahead of a 21-month transition period. During that time UK ministers will be able to negotiate free-trade deals with countries outside the EU.

The UK government has already signalled its intention to strike such a deal with New Zealand.

However last year, Ms Griffiths told the Welsh Assembly's Rural Affairs Committee the prospect of UK-New Zealand free trade agreement was cause for concern.

"If we have this huge influx of New Zealand lamb it will absolutely destroy the Welsh lamb industry," she said."I do not want to say 'I told you so' but that was one of the issues we tried to get out there ahead of the referendum."


|  A BBC release  |  ||  April 09, 2018   |||