New Zealand trade deal sets dangerous precedent
21st Oct 2021 / By Alistair Driver
The NPA has warned that the trade deal with New Zealand, announced yesterday, sets a dangerous precedent for the pig sector.
The UK Government said the deal would benefit consumers and businesses, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying it will cut costs for exporters and open up New Zealand's job market to UK professionals.
The Government's own analysis, however, suggests the deal itself is unlikely to boost UK growth, with the estimated impact on growth being 'close to zero'.
While pork imports from New Zealand are not a factor, the deal appears to have opened up huge opportunities for New Zealand's farming industry, which is already towards the export market. The deal does not appear to specify that imports, including of dairy products, lamb and beef, must meet UK production standards.
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the deal 'affords opportunities in both directions for great sharing of produce' and British farmers should not be worried.
But, with New Zealand being a huge next exporter of lamb and virtually self-sufficient in beef, NFU president Minette Batters said: “The announcement of this trade deal with New Zealand, coupled with the Australia deal signed earlier this year, means we will be opening our doors to significant extra volumes of imported food - whether or not produced to our own high standards - while securing almost nothing in return for UK farmers."
NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said, that despite the lack of New Zealand pork imports, the deal is a concern to the UK pork sector.
"The New Zealand trade deal is of interest to the British pig industry because of the precedent it sets in terms of other trade deals rather than any change to current trade, which for pork is non existent," she said.
"The UK Government’s approach to equivalence of standards is worrying and could severely disadvantage producers in this country by allowing access to lower standard imports.
"There is a lack of clarity at this time and as discussions on the detail continue we urge our Government to be mindful of the damage which could be caused to our fragile industry, particularly with future trade deals."