B+LNZ Chief Executive Sam McIvor says the agreement to start negotiations represents a significant milestone for the sector in the face of growing protectionist rhetoric worldwide.
“The FTA will create a stable and level playing field which is crucial to the growth and future prosperity of the sheep and beef sector and New Zealand as a whole.
“Over 600,000 New Zealand jobs directly depend on international trade, with the red meat sector alone employing over 80,000 people in New Zealand. All these jobs depend on our ability to export competitively and in a stable and predictable trading environment.”
The European Union is an important market for New Zealand red meat products, worth over NZ$1.8 billion in the year ended December 2017. It is New Zealand’s largest market by region for sheepmeat exports and second-largest for wool and chilled beef exports. It takes our highest quality and value cuts.
MIA Chief Executive Tim Ritchie says the sector still faces a range of significant tariff and non-tariff barriers into this market.
“New Zealand pays approximately NZ$53 million in tariffs per year on its red meat exports to the EU.
“A number of competitors, such as Canada, already have an FTA with the EU and New Zealand is only one of six World Trade Organisation Members without an EU FTA in place or under negotiation.
“New Zealand has long established relationships with the European red meat sector. Our red meat exports complement seasonal production in Europe so that customers can buy high-quality red meat all year around”.
The sector looks forward to working with the New Zealand Government and European organisations to generate new opportunities for agricultural and food producers under an EU-NZ FTA, he said.