BELGIUM/NEW ZEALAND. New Zealand’s meat sector and the EU’s dairy industry heavily criticised the new Trade Agreement after negotiations were concluded last week.
New Zealand’s Meat Industry Association issued a statement that its red meat sector was “deeply disappointed and concerned at the poor-quality European Union-New Zealand trade deal”, which would continue to put the sector at a disadvantage in its third-largest export market.
The Association stated that the deal would only allow a small quota of beef exported into the EU – 10,000 t into a market that consumes 6.5 million t of beef annually.
“We are extremely disappointed that this agreement does not deliver commercially meaningful access for our exporters, in particular for beef,” said Sirma Karapeeva, chief executive of the Meat Industry Association.
“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,” Karapeeva added.
Putting EU dairy under pressure
Meanwhile, the European Dairy Association (EDA) called the deal “extremely favourable” for New Zealand and was likely to increase the pressure on the European dairy sector at a time when EU farmers and their dairies were investing heavily into their environmental sustainability strategies.
EDA pointed out that the two regions were also very different, with 85% of New Zealand’s milk production at an annual volume of 25 million t and an average dairy herd size of 450 cows compared to the small-sized regional dairies in Europe with 159 million t per year and an average dairy herd size of 21 cows.
In particular, New Zealand’s market access for butter and cheese was highlighted, and the EDA called on the European Commission to assure that the management of the import tariff rate quotas should be established in a way that doesn’t further play to the advantage of NZ dairy.
In a first reaction, EDA President Giuseppe Ambrosi stated: “We fully understand that the European trade policy is of high strategic importance in the new geopolitical environment. Any trade agreement must be tailored in a fair trade and level playing field spirit to achieve at the end a win-win situation. For milk and dairy, this was a near to impossible task from the outset and the outcome does give a unilateral advantage to the NZ dairy industry, pushing the EU concessions to the absolute limit. The EU dairy sector will do its utmost to continue being resilient and competitive, and we will now have to prepare for the new tougher market conditions.”
The negotiated drafts of the Trade Agreement have not yet been published. After the publication, they will go through legal revision before being submitted to the European Commission and ratified by the EU and New Zealand.
Source: Meat Industry Association / The European Dairy Association