New Zealand red meat sector concerned at reports of ‘weak’ EU offer

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The NZ red meat sector is concerned at reports of a poor quality draft agricultural access offer from the European Union (EU) to New Zealand.

A looming end of June deadline to conclude an Agreement in Principle was also a worry.

European Trade Ministers were due to meet this week to consider the formal revised offer to New Zealand.

However, the Kiwi red meat sector was concerned that the EU’s “rhetoric on ambition” was not being matched in the agreement, Meat Industry Association chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said.

This was due to the poor quality of past market access offers, and recent trade intelligence, she said.

“If these reports are true, then New Zealand red meat exporters would continue to face an unlevel playing field in the EU.”

“We are not prepared to back a deal which offers poor access for our red meat to this important market and an outcome that would simply not be credible.”

Sam McIvor, chief executive of Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ), says agricultural protectionism sends a negative signal to trading partners and is in stark contrast to statements made by the EU Commission about the importance of trade liberalisation and openness, especially at a time where food security is a global concern.

“While New Zealand and the EU have a long history of trade, we are one of the few countries that does not have an FTA with the EU, putting us in similar company to Russia, Iran, Pakistan and India. This puts us at a significant disadvantage compared with the EU’s FTA partners, and is not reflective of the close friendship and reliable partnership between New Zealand and the EU.

NZ Herald

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