Tuesday, 06 February 2018 11:55

Deal a good one for NZ farmers

Written by  Peter Burke
NZ special agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen. NZ special agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen.

The deal NZ has in the now-negotiated Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the best we could have expected, says NZ’s special agricultural trade envoy.

Mike Petersen told Rural News the deal is potentially better for NZ with the US pulling out of the discussions. It is effectively a series of 11 bilateral agreements between each group member, and while the US has pulled out the market access schedules have remained intact. 

That means in theory that NZ has a greater opportunity to export products to the other 10 countries in the agreement, Petersen says.

“But what is really important to remember is that if NZ was not part of the CPTTP we would have been disadvantaged in trade terms for ever…. We would have lost our competitiveness with those other ten countries.” 

Peterson has praised the work of the new government, particularly David Parker who’s been very keenly involved, the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the negotiators. 

“If we weren’t in the CPTTP, we would have been disadvantaged in all those markets forever,” he says. Petersen says while in dollar terms the dairy industry, because of its sheer size, will be the biggest beneficiary of the CPTTP, in percentage terms the meat sector will have the most gains. But he adds that horticulture – in particular kiwifruit – will also benefit.

Peterson says while it would have been nice to have the US in the agreement, from NZ’s point of view the issue with the US is not so much trade barriers but what he describes as ‘technical’ issues affecting the dairy industry exports to the US.

Petersen says it’s possible he will be in Chile for the signing of the agreement on March 8, but warns that it is not an agreement until all the trade ministers sign on the dotted line.

“We want to make sure it gets signed by trade ministers. It’s been agreed by negotiators but it hasn’t been signed yet.”

Meanwhile, Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker has welcomed the deal, claiming it represents a fairer deal than the earlier TPP agreement.

He says the CPTPP will provide NZ exporters with preferential access for the first time into Japan, the world’s third-largest economy and our fifth-largest export market.

“It will also be NZ’s first FTA relationship with Canada (our 13th-largest export market), Mexico (21st) and Peru (46th),” he says.

Welcome news

There has been widespread praise from the rural sector for the successful negotiation of the CPTTP

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) says the deal is welcome news as it allows NZ to maintain its competitive edge in the market.

DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey says while the agreement does not go as far as his organisation would like in terms of dairy access, there are some useful gains in markets such as Japan and Mexico. 

B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor says the agreement represents good news for sheep and beef farmers and all New Zealanders.

“The sector understands there have been no changes to the original market access conditions which will open multiple markets in Japan, Mexico, Peru and Canada where New Zealand red meat faces tariffs of up to 50 per cent. 

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