fbpx
Print this page
Wednesday, 03 April 2019 08:34

Exporters' Brexit concerns grow

Written by  Peter Burke
NZ’s agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen. NZ’s agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen.

New Zealand primary produce exporters’ concerns continue rising about the confusion in the British parliament over Brexit.

NZ’s agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen says given the possibility of a no-deal, exporters are making contingency plans for such an event. But they also still hope a deal will be agreed so they won’t have to trigger plans for a no-deal.

The whole thing is a terrible mess, Petersen told Rural News last week.

“The worrying thing for me is the inability to get an agreement across the UK parliament.... But because they have voted against a no-deal scenario I think they will hold pretty strong. 

“I have always argued that, in the end, they would do a deal because it would be economically bad for both the UK and the EU not to do a deal; the costs on both sides would be too great.”

According to Petersen, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, is clever in saying there is only one deal on the table, and given that parliament has voted against a no-deal the only alternative is not to leave the EU.

“I wonder if that is going to start to shake the Brexiteers and make them think ‘crikey this thing may never happen now’. That seems to be the argument she is running. 

“I also think the chances of a people’s vote or second referendum are very low. No one would want to put the UK through that horrible process – it’s too divisive.” 

Petersen believes that in the end Conservative Party members will fall into line behind Theresa May because the last thing they would want is an election and the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister.

While the shenanigans continues in the British parliament, NZ companies are working out what changes they may need to make when Britain finally leaves the EU. 

Petersen notes that some are looking at having a stronger presence in continental Europe and moving some staff from London to Brussels, and to Amsterdam where Fonterra is based. Some companies have registered new offices in Europe. 

“Where they register these offices will depend a lot on their customer base and key ports of entry to Europe such as Rotterdam in Holland and Antwerp in Belgium.” 

Petersen believes any changes brought about by Brexit are unlikely to result in more NZ staff being employed by exporters to Europe.   

More like this

Mission impossible

Agriculture and Trade Minister Damien O'Connor is off to Europe soon to try and breathe some life into free trade talks between NZ and the UK, and NZ and the European Union.

Global Britain - is it about to become a reality?

OPINION: Former NZ agriculture and trade minister, and ex-High Commissioner to the UK, Lockwood Smith, was the only non-UK member of the UK Trade & Agriculture Commission (TAC), which was tasked by Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, to look at finding a way forward of Britain supporting trade liberalisation, while ensuring UK standards are not undermined.

Planning pays off

Contingency planning by the New Zealand meat industry appears to have paid off as Brexit took effect on January 1.

Is a no deal Brexit the real deal?

A former Irish Prime Minister says even if the UK and EU manage to work out a deal over Brexit it will be very limited and cause a lot of disruption.

National

Ice broken on an old problem

Three enterprising Mackenzie College (Fairlie) students may well have come up with the perfect solution to an age-old problem of…

Cruel April Fool's joke!

In an ironic twist, the Government has pushed back the date of its so-called 'ute tax' or feebate scheme to…

Machinery & Products

Keeping everyone safe

As tractors get larger and front linkage kits become more common, many have started fitting underrun or collision protection systems.

Keeping stock and drivers safe

Livestock haulers are a crucial link in the New Zealand agriculture supply chain, transporting stock onto or between farms, to…

Making lamb marking easy

Designed by a sheep and beef farmer, Vetmarkers are made in New Zealand and sold around the world.