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Meat and dairy gains are vital in any EU trade deal - Todd McClay

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A trade agreement with the European Union must include commercially meaningful outcomes for New Zealand’s meat and dairy exporters, National’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson Todd McClay says.

"If real gains for meat and dairy aren’t on the table, the Prime Minister should instruct negotiators to continue talks until a commercially meaningful offer is presented.

"Trade Minister Damien O’Connor has already confirmed New Zealand has agreed to the European Union’s demands for geographic indicators. This means Kiwi businesses will no longer be able to produce many food products and call them by their name, including feta, gouda and parmesan cheeses. The EU has consulted on a list that also includes restricting the names Mozzarella and Latin Kiwifruit (Kiwi Latina) and other agricultural products.

"The EU’s agriculture sector has expressed delight that restrictions would remain in place for New Zealand exporters, with the current offer meaning almost none of our meat or dairy would be competitive in the EU market.

"By agreeing to geographic indicators, without reciprocal gains for meat and dairy, the Government has disadvantaged New Zealand producers and made it more difficult in our future negotiations with countries like the United States, India and the Pacific Alliance.

"Meat and dairy exports are vital to New Zealand’s economy and should be at the forefront of any trade agreement, particularly with the European Union, which is New Zealand’s third-largest trading partner.

"National supports free trade and the jobs it creates, including current gains made by MFAT negotiators; however, after four years of talks, we shouldn’t sign up to a deal just for the sake of it.

"Until the EU makes an acceptable offer for New Zealand meat and dairy access, the Prime Minister should instruct negotiators to keep talking."

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