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EU Commissioner confirms issue over NZ trade

Hon. Dr Lockwood Smith MP National Party Foreign Affairs & Trade Spokesman

08 September 2004

EU Commissioner confirms issue over NZ trade

Potential problems for Kiwi beef and lamb exports to new European Union member states have been confirmed by EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy while in Wellington today, says National Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman Lockwood Smith.

"Beef is the biggest problem. We used to export 1,000 tonnes a year of top grade beef to Cyprus and Malta. That was worth $10 to $15 million.

"With those countries now in the EU, that market is lost as our beef quota to the entire European Union is only 300 tonnes a year.

"The EU is required by the WTO to ensure countries such as New Zealand face no new trade barriers as a result of the expansion of the EU.

"There's a similar problem with the 1,000 tonnes of lamb also marketed in the same countries. But with our lamb quota to the EU being 226,700 tonnes, the urgency in the immediate future is not so great.

"Commissioner Lamy today acknowledged the requirement for the EU to deal with the issue of disturbance of our markets following EU expansion.

"The issue has urgency as the EU beef quota is settled by 1 July each year. I call on Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton to ensure the matter is settled in time for the next quota season," says Dr Smith.

ENDS


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