OPINION: The biggest issue currently facing our industry is environmental policy, writes Beef+Lamb NZ chief executive Sam McIvor.
The report looks at the changes and challenges that the industry faces in the COVID-19 environment, where face-to-face trade missions are less likely to happen in the immediate future.
The report singles out China, noting that the advent of African Swine Fever in that country has dominated and shaped the global meat trade over the past 12 months. It states that, in the past year, exports to China rose by 24% on the previous year.
In the year to June 2020, China became our biggest market for meat exports worth $3.68 billion. The report also talks about an industry led ‘China engagement strategy’ to strengthen the relationship between the two countries. It notes that the MIA is looking to continue to build this relationship despite the travel constraints of COVID-19.
Another major trade issue facing the meat industry is FTA negotiations between the EU and NZ, as well as Britain and NZ. Currently, political ructions in Europe and the UK are seeing our negotiations pushed back.
MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva says the association is supportive of the Government’s stance on trade liberalisation and its FTA negotiations. But she says it wants to more than just words and points to the disappointing offer the EU put to NZ earlier this year.
“For a credible trade partner to come to the table with such a low offer it really does raise questions about where this might end up,” she told Rural News.
“My personal opinion is it will take some time to untangle that mess. I am not holding my breath that there will be an FTA between NZ and the EU this year – and possibly not even next year.”