Meat trading gains anticipated

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Shipping containers being moved on SouthPort's container wharf. Photo: Southland Express files

THE meat industry is celebrating trading gains likely to come from the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) struck recently.

Southland Federated Farmers president Allan Baird said he was pleased the Labour-led coalition government had picked up negotiating on the previously abandoned deal and had shown a willingness to see it through.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) also welcomed the announcement a deal had been struck to move ahead with what was formerly known as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).

B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor said the CPTPP would deliver significant gains to the sector.

“New Zealand’s regions are hugely reliant on revenue flowing as a result of exports. Trade is the lifeblood for our sector, which in turn creates jobs and supports communities around New Zealand. Over 90% percent of New Zealand’s sheepmeat and 80% of our beef production is exported. These exports support around 60,000 jobs on farms and in processing companies, and a further 20,000 jobs in supplying sectors.”

Mr McIvor said the deal simultaneously opened up multiple markets in Japan, Mexico, Peru and Canada and put New Zealand on a level playing field with other major red meat exporters in the Asia Pacific region, such as Australia and the European Union.

MIA chief executive Tim Ritchie said since Australia’s 2015 trade agreement with Japan, its beef exports to Japan had increased by $1 billion, while New Zealand’s had fallen by $30 million. “Demand in Japan for beef has been growing, but we have lost significant market share. The situation got tougher in August when Japan imposed a World Trade Organisation (WTO) safeguard on frozen beef, raising its tariff on New Zealand exports from 38.5% to 50%, while Australia only faces a tariff of 22%. Since the safeguard was applied, our frozen beef exports to Japan have fallen by 70%.”

The meat export sector is also celebrating the release of a WTO report which upholds the initial findings of the New Zealand-led dispute against Indonesia on a range of agricultural non-tariff barriers.

Mr Ritchie said these barriers had impacted on New Zealand beef exports to Indonesia and had contributed to a decline of more than 80% since 2010, costing the sector an estimated $1b in lost trade.

“This reinforces the importance and value of the WTO in disciplining pervasive non-tariff barriers which plague the industry.”

A spokeswoman for Minister for Regional Economic Development Shane Jones said it was too early to say what effect the CPTPP might have on Southland, but the minister had said Southland and Otago were among the regions he wanted to see benefit from the Government’s new Regional Development (Provincial Growth) Fund “after being neglected in recent years.”

Mr Jones said last month the fund would make $1b a year available, mostly for projects people in the regions said had been neglected over the previous nine years.

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