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New Zealand trade gains from EU expansion

Hon Jim Sutton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister Trade Negotiations, and Associate Minister for Rural Affairs

16 August 2005

New Zealand trade gains from EU expansion

New Zealand has negotiated additional access for sheepmeat and butter to Europe following last year's enlargement of the European Union, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton announced today.

Enlargement of EU membership to 25 countries last year brought changes to import tariffs (duty rates) as new members' trade (tariff) regimes were aligned to conform to the EU's. Ten new members joined the EU in 2004 - Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Poland.

As a result, import tariffs on some New Zealand products fell, with immediate benefits for our exporters. Other tariffs rose, increasing duties on our exports in important sectors such as meat and dairy.

Mr Sutton said that under WTO rules, New Zealand was entitled to negotiate with the EU to compensate for trade access losses.

The agreement just concluded results from complex negotiations over many months.

He said it was a good result.

"The new quota additions will provide useful trade gains. They are specific to New Zealand and give additional guaranteed access to the enlarged EU for our meat and dairy products".

The new arrangements will expand the existing quota for sheepmeat by 1154 tonnes to 227,854 tonnes, and for butter by 735 tonnes to 77,402 tonnes.

"While the formalities of the negotiation are still being finalised, I can confirm that we are expecting a good outcome for beef as well. The details of this should be announced soon."

New Zealand's negotiations with the EU had focused on the meat and dairy sectors, where EU enlargement had disadvantaged New Zealand exports.

But EU enlargement had also benefited a range of other New Zealand exports, such as kiwifruit, scoured wool, casein, fish, forest products and some manufactured goods including machinery and appliances, ceramics and textiles. For these products, previously higher tariff caps in the ten new member countries were replaced by lower EU-wide tariffs when these countries joined the EU on 1 May 2004.

ENDS

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