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24 March 2017

24 March 2017  

Exports are the lifeblood of the sheep and beef sector with 92% of New Zealand’s sheepmeat production and 80% percent of beef production exported and so it’s great to see a refresh of the trade agenda to support competitiveness in an increasingly challenging
global trading environment.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Sam McIvor and Meat Industry Association CEO, Tim Ritchie say agricultural exports continue to face major barriers around the world, such as high tariffs, increasing use of non-tariff barriers, and domestic subsidies. The new trade
strategy has never been more important.

“The sheep and beef sector is New Zealand’s second-largest goods export income earner, with over $7.4 billion last year. This supported about 60,000 direct jobs on farms and in processing companies as well as thousands more jobs in other sectors across both urban and rural communities,” McIvor said.

“Successive New Zealand governments have achieved significant trade outcomes that have benefited our industry (such as being the first developed country to negotiate an FTA with China). The government has had a clear vision of what industry needs to maintain and grow our trade access globally,” Ritchie said.

“We strongly support the continued focused on free trade agreements. Last year our industry saved approximately NZ$211 million in tariffs as a result of the FTAs that are in force, including with China, Taiwan and Thailand. But there is still more to be done. 

“For example, we have lost market share in Japan because of the high tariffs on New Zealand beef. The Trade Agenda 2030 confirms a direction of travel which should help to address this going forward,” said McIvor. 

Ritchie said the sector was highly supportive of the greater emphasis in the strategy on tackling non-tariff barriers.

“Our industry is experiencing a significant increase in regulatory and non-regulatory requirements that can either block our trade or make it very expensive. Addressing NTBs and removing the outstanding tariffs will help to level the playing field for New Zealand
companies,” said Ritchie.

The NZIER estimates that NTBs in the Asia Pacific region cost the New Zealand beef industry alone approximately US$768 million a year. It is vital for the Government to remain focused on trade liberalisation and the announcement of additional resources for government to further improve market access and tackle NTBs is key to this, said Ritchie.

We look forward to continuing to work openly and collaboratively with government on trade matters for the benefit of the sector and New Zealand as a whole.

For more information please contact:

B+LNZ Chief Executive Sam McIvor 021 828 170
MIA Chief Executive, Tim Ritchie 027 576 0036.