EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement outcome disappointing for New Zealand’s red meat sector
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen have concluded negotiations of the NZ-EU Free Trade Agreement.
The deal will see only a small quota for New Zealand beef into the European Union -- 10,000 tonnes into a market that consumes 6.5 million tonnes of beef annually -- far less than the red meat sector’s expectations.
"We are extremely disappointed that this agreement does not deliver commercially meaningful access for our exporters, in particular for beef," says Sirma Karapeeva, chief executive of the Meat Industry Association (MIA).
"We have been clear from the outset that what we need from an EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement is market access that allows for future growth and opportunity. Unfortunately, this outcome maintains small quotas that will continue to constrain our companies’ ability to export to the EU. This agreement is not consistent with our expectations and the promise for an ambitious, high quality trade deal. With more volatility in global markets, diversification is important and a high-quality FTA with the EU was critical in helping us achieve this. This is a missed opportunity for farmers, exporters and New Zealanders. It will mean our sector will not be able to capture the maximum value for our products, depriving the New Zealand economy of much-needed export revenue at a time when the country is relying on the primary sector to deliver when it matters most."
Sam McIvor, chief executive of Beef + Lamb New Zealand, says that the outcome is difficult to reconcile, given the longstanding relationship and shared values between the EU and New Zealand.
"For over 100 years, our sector has exported safe, nutritious, and high-quality products to Europe. We share common societal values, a commitment to high production standards, and robust regulatory frameworks for food safety and quality, animal welfare, and sustainability. It’s difficult to understand why a more ambitious outcome wasn’t possible. Crucially for our sector, the EU is a market where we can be rewarded for the environmental and production credentials our sector works so hard for as we look to derive greater value for our premium products. EU consumers are discerning and willing to pay a premium for high quality, sustainable product that meets superior animal welfare standards. This was a real opportunity to return better prices to both companies and farmers, but unfortunately this outcome will limit our ability to respond to that demand. While we acknowledge the hard work of our New Zealand trade negotiators, frankly speaking, the EU has not supported their consumers and failed to live up to their rhetoric of being free traders."
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