While disappointed by the US decision to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the New Zealand sheep and beef sector remains strongly supportive of the Agreement and its aims, its representative organisations, the New Zealand Meat Industry Association (MIA) and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) say.
Multilateral trade liberalisation creates a stable and level playing field on which to compete and it’s hugely important to the growth and future prosperity of the sheep and beef sector and New Zealand as a whole, the two organisations say.
“We estimated that a 12 nation TPP would have delivered around $72 million in tariff savings a year for the red meat sector alone – not to mention that volume growth in high-value markets that would flow from tariff reduction. The US withdrawing from the TPP is a real setback to our capitalising on these opportunities – and it’s a loss for consumers in the TPP nations,” MIA Chief Executive Tim Ritchie said.
“Equally disappointing is the lost opportunity of levelling the playing field in countries like Japan where our sector’s competitiveness has been eroded relative to others like Australia that have concluded trade deals with Japan. The TPP would have created the leverage for us to remedy this.”
B+LNZ Chief Executive Sam McIvor said the sheep and beef sector would be encouraging the New Zealand Government to keep pursuing a good outcome in the region.
“We say the TPP would have delivered value to all parties, including the US. But, if the US isn’t going to progress the TPP now, we see value in the remaining parties remodelling the agreement to benefit the rest of us in the Asia Pacific region.
“Should the opportunity arise, we would be supportive of the Government seeking bilateral trade deals with both the US and Japan,” McIvor said.
MIA and B+LNZ will be making these points to Trade Minister Todd McClay, who foreshadowed a refresh of the New Zealand Trade Policy Strategy last year.
“In the face of growing anti-globalisation sentiment internationally, it is timely to future proof the original trade strategy to make sure it can continue to help deliver positive trade outcomes,” Ritchie said.
MIA and B+LNZ say it’s important that the trade agenda continues to look for opportunities to further open up export markets – be that through bilateral, regional or multilateral trade agreements.
The New Zealand sheep and beef sector is supportive of a trade agenda that includes negotiating new agreements, fully implementing existing ones and bringing a sharper focus on addressing non-tariff barriers which are often more costly that tariffs.