Meat & Livestock News

New Zealand Dairy Sector Calls for Upgraded EU Trade Deal Amidst Global Tariff Challenges

Cows standing in a stall and eating hay on a farm

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has expressed concerns over the current state of the New Zealand-European Union Free Trade Agreement, particularly regarding dairy trade provisions.

Kimberly Crewther, the executive director of DCANZ, has highlighted the disparity in dairy market access when compared to agreements the EU has with other nations like Canada and the UK.

Crewther’s remarks follow Australia’s decision to reject a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, citing inadequate access to agricultural products. The EU’s negotiation stance with Australia, which mirrored its approach with New Zealand, aimed to maintain a closed dairy market and assert control over certain cheese names traditionally used globally.

DCANZ had previously advised the New Zealand Government against finalising the agreement due to the limited dairy access provided.

Crewther emphasised that despite existing bilateral and plurilateral agreements covering a significant portion of New Zealand’s trade, the country’s dairy exports still face over $1 billion in tariffs annually.

She stressed the importance of upgrading the EU FTA to ensure a level playing field and to pursue tariff elimination with other trading partners.

Echoing DCANZ’s sentiment, Richard McIntyre, Federated Farmers dairy section chair, voiced the disappointment of Kiwi dairy farmers with the EU trade deal, pointing out the minimal market access granted for New Zealand dairy products and the imposition of geographic indicators on products like Feta.

In a parallel development, Australia declined the EU’s trade deal offer after unsuccessful negotiations. Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell acknowledged the lack of progress, 

while the National Farmers’ Federation and the Australian Dairy Industry Council commended the Australian Government for rejecting a deal that would disadvantage Australian farmers compared to their counterparts in New Zealand, Canada, and South America.

The situation underscores the need for New Zealand to push for an upgraded FTA with the EU that addresses the current imbalances in dairy trade and to continue working towards the removal of tariffs that hinder the competitiveness of New Zealand’s dairy sector on the global stage.