French sheep farmers warn against EU/NZ trade deal

A PROPOSED trade deal between New Zealand and the EU would see 38,000 tonnes lamb arrive at half the price of its competitors, French farming leaders have warned.

The president of the French National Sheep Federation, Michèle Boudoin, warned: “This agreement foresees sending 38,000 extra tonnes of sheep meat to Europe every year over the next seven years. On top of the current 114,000.

“We know how this is going to happen – our sector was globalised very early on, in the 1990s,” said Mr Boudoin. “The sheep is a very political animal. A bargaining chip. Since then, 228,000 tonnes of tax-free sheep are imported into Europe every year (with the United Kingdom at the time). Since then, the industry has been in decline. And this new agreement will make the situation even worse.”

The French sheep farmer went on to complain about the timing of NZ shipments of lamb hitting the shelves every year at Easter: “This is the most important time for our industry. Lamb is ecumenical and is eaten at Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim Easter in March.

“This means that NZ lambs can be found alongside Irish, Spanish and English lambs killed a few days earlier. The latter are sold for between €15 and €17 per kilo. €23 for the French. While the New Zealanders don’t exceed €10. Two and a half times cheaper. And this without any indication to the consumer, neither on the date of slaughter nor on the method of preservation.”

 

John Sleigh / The Scottish Farmer

 

UK-NZ trade deal criticised by farmers

Farmers are expressing their deep concerns following the signing of a free trade deal between the UK and New Zealand on Monday (February 28).

Hailed by the government as a deal that will slash red tape for companies exporting their goods, British farmers have pointed out the UK market will be flooded with imported food, produced at lower standards.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “This deal will slash red tape, remove all tariffs and make it easier for our services companies to set up and prosper in New Zealand.

The NFU was quick to point out that UK farmers will now face “significant extra volumes of imported food – whether or not produced to our own high standards – while securing almost nothing in return for UK farmers.”

NFU President Minette Batters said: “As expected, this deal takes the same approach as the UK-Australia deal in eliminating tariffs for agricultural products, meaning that even for sensitive sectors like beef and lamb, dairy and horticulture, in time there will be no limit to the amount of goods New Zealand can export to the UK.

 

 

By Lisa Young / South West Farmer

Lamb exports to the EU will return to pre-Brexit levels, says Eustice

Defra Secretary George Eustice has claimed lamb exports to the EU will return to pre-Brexit levels in future.

British sheepmeat exports to the bloc have fallen by 25 per cent since the UK left the EU, with industry leaders blaming the sharp drop on non-tariff barriers such as paperwork and checks.

Last year, the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) warned UK meat exporters were having to spend an extra £1,000 to send a lorry through a port.

Smaller exporters, in particular, have struggled to handle the 29 different processes required to send meat to the continent.

Giving evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee this week (February 1), Mr Eustice said he expected the trade to bounce back over the coming years.

“Things like salmon have actually seen an increase in their exports since we have left the European Union, driven by high demand for premium product,” he told the MPs.

“I think we will see a similar situation on our other major agricultural exports like lamb. There will be some impact because of the additional export processes which are required and the costs associated with that, but the big exports we rely on will resume just as Scottish salmon already has.”

But National Sheep Association (NSA) chief executive Phil Stocker questioned whether this would be the case.

“[Trade] will never return to the way it used to be, and seeing the effect border control posts and export health certificate controls are having on exporters, I do not see our volumes to the EU returning to where they were,” he said.

 

 

 

By Abi Kay  / Farmers Guardian

 

Brexit: Lambs to the slaughter

  • Brexit talks have been passed back to negotiators, with little sign of progress from the UK and EU leadership, and with no deal getting worryingly close for exporters.
  • Sheep meat is one sector facing particularly high tariffs – put there to protect British and other European farmers, but now the UK will be outside the EU fortress.
  • Even with a tariff-free deal, there will be high extra costs for animal produce going to Europe, involving certification, queues and border checks.

Remember spring? If you were lucky enough to get out to somewhere rural, you probably saw some cute lambs a-gambolling.

Well, it’s not looking good for them now. They’ve put on some weight, and are less cute. Or they were. This has been the slaughtering season.

About a third of Scottish lamb goes for export, and 98% of that is to the European Union. French chefs highly value uplands-grazed lamb.

There’s a metaphor somewhere in there for the Brexit talks.

But for sheep farmers, this isn’t metaphor. This is their future. The average tariff on sheep meat is 48%. It is not a flat rate: instead, there’s a fee per kilo and a percentage of the value.

And the more it is butchered and processed, the higher the tariff on entering the European Union.

by Douglas Fraser