IMTA welcomes signing of UK-NZ free trade deal
The International Meat Trade Association (IMTA) has responded to the signing of the free trade agreement (FTA) between the UK and New Zealand, stating that the deal will “only serve to strengthen the enduring and historic trade in meat” between the two countries.
On Monday, 28th February, International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan signed a UK-New Zealand free trade deal in a meeting with New Zealand minister Damien O’Connor in London.
After reaching agreement in principle last October negotiators have finalised the deal. In a statement released by the UK government, the new deal “will remove trade barriers on a huge range of UK goods and services and provide new opportunities for British businesses.”
‘Increased consumer choice’
IMTA welcomed the agreement and the additional duty free access it will mean for beef and sheepmeat imported from New Zealand. The Association said that while the UK’s existing quota for duty free imports of sheepmeat from New Zealand is “typically significantly underfilled”, including when the UK was a member of the EU, beef access from New Zealand has been quite limited by its small existing quota. IMTA claimed that this deal will increase consumer choice in the UK.
The Association said that New Zealand’s opposite seasons would play “a key role” in ensuring lamb is available on shelves in the UK year-round and that demand can be met at periods such as Easter when there is a seasonal boost to consumption.
“Part of a broader picture”
IMTA also claimed that being able to import from a range of suppliers would give a boost to the UK’s food security. The Association added that the UK is not self-sufficient in the cuts of meat UK consumers show a preference for.
It said: “Two-way trade in meat is crucial as it helps to balance the carcase, allowing us to import more of the cuts we favour, while exporting those, such as offal, which are more highly valued elsewhere. This new FTA with New Zealand is one part of a broader picture.”
“A crucial step”
Commenting on the signing of the deal, Katrina Walsh, IMTA policy director, said: “This is a key moment in the UK’s trade relationship with New Zealand. It has been a key supplier of meat to the UK market for exactly 140 years. UK consumers highly value the quality and characteristics of New Zealand lamb and it has been a key fixture in many people’s Easter menu alongside British lamb.
“The additional duty-free access for New Zealand beef will allow more UK consumers to sample what New Zealand has to offer. This deal is to be welcomed as a crucial step in the UK’s journey as an independent trading nation. We look forward to learning more about when the deal might enter into force.”