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US Visit Focuses on Duty-Free Access to TPP Markets

16 June 2014

US Visit Focuses on Duty-Free Access to TPP Markets

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Dr Scott Champion pressed home the need for comprehensive tariff elimination in the Trans Pacific partnership during a visit to the United States last week.

Dr Champion met with the leadership of several major US trade and farming associations, including Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s US counterparts, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the American Sheep Industry Association, as well as state and federal government agencies, members of the US Congress, and US and New Zealand businesses.

All of Dr Champion’s meetings had a focus on driving home Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s key objectives in the TPP of achieving comprehensive tariff elimination and meaningful new market access opportunities across all TPP countries.

“It is evident that the TPP is entering its final stages and that tough decisions on countries’ most sensitive products will soon need to be dealt with. Our message remained clear that we require comprehensive, meaningful, duty-free access to all TPP markets. We also highlighted the need for identical market access offers for all beef exporting countries.”

Dr Champion said it was encouraging to see the benefits of BLNZ’s membership and participation in the Five Nations Beef Alliance demonstrated throughout the visit. He noted that the alliance’s joint statements were included in briefing packs for Members of Congress during agricultural trade committee hearings.
The unique multi-country commodity voice is being touted among Washington DC insiders as an example for other agriculture commodity groups to learn from.

“While we are all competitors in the market, on pre-competitive issues that impact all of us, our collective beef voice is clearly having a unique and useful impact in Washington DC and on Capitol Hill,” Dr Champion said.

On other issues, the beef industry raised its ongoing frustration with the length of time it is taking to address US mandatory country of origin labelling rules. The focus on water and drought issues was also notable and another point of common interest with New Zealand’s sheep and beef producers. This was particularly noticeable in California, the country’s largest agriculture producing state. During the past northern hemisphere winter the Sierra Nevada mountain range – a vital source of water for California’s Central Valley – received only three per cent of its average snowfall.

While many eyes begin to focus on prospects in faster growing markets such as China, the US visit underlined the importance of maintaining strong relationships in this key market for New Zealand red meat exports.

Dr Champion said: “The US remains New Zealand’s largest beef market and we have many shared interests with respect to both the US and New Zealand’s access to export markets. Given this, it’s important that we are building stronger relationships with our US counterparts, and gaining a better understanding of the US market and US agricultural issues.”

About Beef + Lamb New Zealand:
Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd is the farmer owned industry organisation representing New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers. Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd invests farmer levies to help develop a growing sheep and beef industry providing sustainable returns for future generations. Beef + Lamb New Zealand has four programmes – Farm, Market, People and Information – to deliver innovative tools and services to support informed decision making, and continuous improvement in market access, product positioning and farming systems for New Zealand’s sheep and beef sector.

ENDS

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