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Trade Lib Agreement with Thailand encouraged

Trade Liberalising Agreement with Thailand to be encouraged.

Growing the appetite of sixty million Thais for New Zealand beef will become easier with a new trade deal on the horizon to improve access, according to Meat New Zealand. The organisation today welcomed the announcement that the New Zealand and Thai Governments will start negotiations on a Closer Economic Partnership (CEP), which will improve access for New Zealand’s meat exports into Thailand.

Chief Executive Mark Jeffries says the Government’s study into a comprehensive CEP with Thailand has highlighted that it will provide real benefits for the consumers, industries and economies of both countries.

Meat New Zealand participated in the feasibility study.

“Even though the meat sector’s existing trade with Thailand was only $6 million in 2003 - the CEP negotiations will provide New Zealand farmers and exporters with a real opportunity to reduce the trade barriers that currently apply to New Zealand meat products.” Jeffries said.

Jeffries said a CEP agreement would lead to improved trade access - particularly for beef.

“The current tariff rates for meat products are prohibitive, at 50 percent for beef, 30 percent for sheep meat and ranging between 30-40 percent for meat offals. We support the study’s recommendations for these trade barriers to be removed. This will allow both Thai consumers and the Thai tourism industry to enjoy a more reliable supply of high quality New Zealand red meat for which there is growing demand.”

Mr Jeffries says that although the tariffs on New Zealand wool products are low, a CEP will also help New Zealand’s wool exports to Thailand.

“New Zealand has an existing trade in wool products with Thailand with wool exports totalling just under $8.5 million last year. Any gains that might be achieved for such exports would not necessarily come from tariff cuts, but more from bringing our two economies closer together.”

Jeffries says Meat & Wool New Zealand looks forward to working closely with the Government on the CEP negotiations with Thailand.

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