Tuesday, 07 November 2023 08:55

Calls to upgrade EU FTA

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
DCANZ executive director Kimberly Crewther. DCANZ executive director Kimberly Crewther.

Dairy processors want New Zealand to upgrade the free trade deal signed with the European Union by the former Labour Government.

Dairy Companies Association of NZ (DCANZ) executive director Kimberly Crewther says the way the NZ-EU trade deal was closed for dairy highlights that we are very far from a point of "peak FTA".

Her comments come as Australia walked away from an FTA with the EU last week, after failing to win meaningful access for Australian agricultural products.

Crewther told Rural News that the approach taken by the EU in negotiations with Australia appears to have mirrored the approach the EU took with New Zealand: Seeking to keep its own dairy market largely closed, while at the same time advancing an agenda to monopolise certain cheese names that have been used internationally for decades.

"We are not surprised to see the Australian industry backing its government in walking away from a deal on these terms," she adds. "It is a matter of public record that DCANZ requested the New Zealand Government to not close out an agreement with the low level of dairy access we were granted. Especially when the EU had previously eliminated dairy tariffs in trade details with Canada and the UK."

Crewther points out that bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements might cover over 70% of NZ's current trade, but the trade negotiating job is far from over.

"New Zealand dairy exports continue to incur more than $1 billion in tariffs annually and 86.8% of global consumption takes place behind tariff barriers of 10% or more. These trade barriers suppress the value of New Zealand dairy exporters," says Crewther.

"This means it is important that New Zealand's trade agenda includes upgrading the EU FTA to put us on a level playing field, as well as completing the unfinished business of tariff elimation with other FTA partners including Japan, Korea, Canada, and Mexico."

Federated Farmers dairy section chair Richard McIntyre says it's no secret that Kiwi dairy farmers were disappointed with NZ's free trade deal with the EU.

"The deal gave very little in the way of market access to NZ dairy products, while imposing restrictions on the use of geographic indicators such as Feta," he told Rural News.

No Deal

Australia turned down the EU's trade deal offer following the latest round of talks.

Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell said they had not been able to make progress.

National Farmers' Federation David Jochinke thanked the Australian Government for "standing by Australian farmers and walking away from an unacceptable offer".

"It would have locked our farmers in at a disadvantage to competitors in New Zealand, Canada and South America."

Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) chair Rick Gladigau says that despite the best efforts of the Australian Government, the EU has continued to make unreasonable demands by insisting Australia adopt an anti-competitive Geographical Indications (GI) regime, while at the same time not providing equitable market access into the EU dairy market.

More like this

UAE FTA welcome news

The dairy and red meat sectors have welcomed news that New Zealand will begin formal negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Canada's flagrant dishonesty

Deeply cynical and completely illogical. That's how Kimberly Crewther, the executive director of DCANZ is describing the Canadian government's flagrant breach of international trade law in refusing to open its market to New Zealand dairy exports.

Benefits of EU trade deal

The European Union Ambassador says the new free trade agreement (FTA) between the bloc and New Zealand will bring significant benefits to both parties.


Viability of farming questioned

People are starting to question the viability of sheep and beef farming as profitability in that sector falls to one of its all-time lows, according to Federated Farmers board member and Gisborne sheep and beef farm, Toby Williams.

Zespri's net profit down $60m

Kiwifruit exporter and marketer Zespri has reported a $60 million drop in net profit, mainly driven by reduced licence revenue from lower pricing per hectare than 2022/23.

UAE FTA welcome news

The dairy and red meat sectors have welcomed news that New Zealand will begin formal negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Home detention for animal neglect

A Taranaki dairy farmer received four-month home detention and was disqualified from overseeing of animals for 18 months over a lack of feed and welfare which led to some animals being euthanised.

Flock House and its secrets

Plans are in place to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the legendary Flock House opening its doors for the first time.


$160 billion cargo shipment deal

New Zealand’s major primary industry exporters have secured shipping capability to export $160 billion worth of products over the next…

Play by the rules

Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says the Government is always working to ensure that our food exporters are treated…

Machinery & Products

GPS in control

In a move that will make harvesting operations easier, particularly in odd-shaped paddocks, Kuhn has announced that GPS section control…

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

True colours

OPINION: The watermelon party (AKA the Greens) try to portray themselves as an upright, self-righteous, caring bunch of woke, bicycle-riding…

Peace at last?

OPINION: Good news for hunters as Forest & Bird have "paused" legal action against the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation and agreed…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter