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Call for Unified Approach to Agricultural Products Trade

30 October 2013

GLOBAL - Beef + Lamb New Zealand and representatives from other Five Nations Beef Alliance partners have called on Washington’s Capitol Hill to promote a unified view of how trade in agricultural products – and especially beef – should be treated under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

The TPP, which is currently being negotiated and of which New Zealand is a participant, aims to open up trade in goods and services. Progress towards an outcome was most recently reviewed in Bali, where Prime Minister John Key chaired the meeting of the 12 TPP negotiating countries.

The Five Nations Beef Alliance is made up of the national organisations that represent beef cattle producers in Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States. Collectively, the five countries account for one third of global beef production and approximately half of global beef exports. The Alliance works as a coordinated partnership to develop strategies that encourage growth in global beef trading, while also addressing any mutual concerns of members.

B+LNZ is the New Zealand representative within the Alliance. B+LNZ Chairman Mike Petersen says that thrashing out the details around the principles is critical to the process. “The clearer the understanding around the important principles, the more effective and workable the final TPP agreement will be.

“Through our long-term relationships with key people in Washington, B+LNZ was instrumental in facilitating last week’s meeting – and was delighted to do so, especially alongside our American colleagues from National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, who have excellent relationships with US lawmakers.”

“The discussions progressed important principles that we want to see embedded into the TPP outcome. In particular, we seek complete elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade over a commercially meaningful timeframe. We also want to see a single schedule for tariff elimination.”

As well as meeting with decision makers on Capitol Hill, the Five Nations Beef Alliance team met with US Trade Representative personnel and officials from other Alliance countries. They also promoted their views to the embassies of several other countries involved in the TPP negotiations.

Mr Petersen says B+LNZ representatives reported that, across the various meetings, there was a clear sense that officials were taking seriously the TPP leaders’ desire to wrap up negotiations this year, with a rapid conclusion enabling benefits to flow to the countries and their farmers more quickly.

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