Meat & Livestock News

EU Deforestation Laws Challenge NZ Beef Trade

The European Union’s new rules are causing headaches for New Zealand beef exporters. These rules, set last June, demand proof that beef doesn’t harm forests after 2020’s end. Sellers face a tight deadline by this year’s end to comply.

These EU laws mean beef sellers must show their beef follows their country’s laws or face big fines. This rule also hits sellers of soy, palm oil, and other goods.

New Zealand and the UK stopped lamb from being affected by these rules. Yet, beef exporters might need to track every beef piece’s location to prove it’s deforestation-free.

Nick Jolly from Beef +Lamb NZ says tracking a 20-tonne container’s contents could be tough. Despite high tariffs, the EU’s beef market is valuable. In 2022, NZ sold $94 million of beef to the EU, part of its $4.6 billion global beef sales.

A new trade deal could boost NZ’s beef quota in the EU from 846 tonnes a year to 10,000 tonnes in seven years. But, Rick Walker from ANZCO fears these deforestation rules could stop NZ’s beef trade with the EU.

These rules, aimed at countries like Brazil, put NZ at a disadvantage. NZ, not facing deforestation issues, finds these rules burdensome. NZ seeks to be seen as low-risk for deforestation, which could ease checks on its beef.

Details on these rules were expected by the end of 2023 but are now delayed to early 2024. With the compliance deadline nearing, NZ’s beef industry is urging for clarity and preparation to meet these EU requirements.