UK approves tariff-free meat exports from Australia and NZ

UK approves tariff-free meat exports from Australia and NZ

The UK and EU has approved a new set of arrangements ensuring meat from partners of the Free Trade Agreement is covered by UK tariff rate quotas.

Handshake in front of Australian flag
Meat imports from FTA partners such as Australia and New Zealand may now enter the UK tariff-free.

The deal was ratified by Foreign Secretary David Cameron and European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič. It means that over 13,000 tons of lamb, beef and poultry, including from FTA partners such as Australia and New Zealand, will now be covered by UK tariff rate quotas.

The Government said that this would “significantly benefit Northern Ireland businesses”, and that it “further cements Northern Ireland’s integral place in the UK”.

Under the new quota regime NI businesses will be able to access the same benefits and opportunities as the rest of the UK, said Government, while maintaining “sufficient protection” for farmers.

It also said the quota regime would “address a key problem with the old Protocol”, where businesses exporting their goods could benefit from UK Free Trade Agreements but those importing higher tariff products like meat into Northern Ireland could not benefit from UK FTAs.

Minister of State for the Northern Ireland Office Steve Baker said: “This major milestone illustrates the UK Government’s commitment to maximising trade and opportunities for Northern Ireland’s business.

“This unique arrangement will mean NI importers will be able to benefit from UK Free Trade Agreements, further cementing Northern Ireland’s place in the UK. I look forward to our further work to safeguard the Union.”

The International Meat Trade Association (IMTA) said: “IMTA welcome today’s ratification of the Tariff Rate Quota solution for meat imports into Northern Ireland. We have long advocated for a solution to address this trade barrier and facilitate this crucial supply to NI. We look forward to understanding the details and collaborate with Government and industry towards its effective implementation later this year.”

The new arrangements will be available alongside the new UK Internal Market Scheme from 30th September 2024.

A spokesperson for the British Association of Meat Wholesalers (BMPA) said: “While Northern Ireland be able to gain access to Australian and New Zealand meat involved in the free trade agreements, in practice there must still be an assessment of the risk of such goods entering the EU. This would utilise mechanisms that are already in place for British meat entering Northern Ireland as most if not all Australian and New Zealand meat will be entering the UK via mainland ports, not directly into Northern Ireland.

“To Steve Baker’s point that the trade deals “include provisions which make sure that we don’t end up swamped with cheap produce”, it’s common that safeguard measures are built into trade deals to mitigate, for example, a sudden drop in the price of overseas commodities like beef. But these safeguards are only for extreme situations and will do nothing to stop the UK market being swamped by higher value products like striploins that can compete on price against UK product.

“In this scenario, the tonnage quotas prior to the 15-year mark would not need to come close to being reached to have a detrimental effect on the UK market. One cow yields two striploins. If we import 6000 tonnes of them, that represents a huge proportion of the UK herd.”

Previous / Next posts...

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *