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New EU Regulation Changes Terms Of Butter Quota

For Immediate Release 15 December 2003

New European Union Regulation Changes Terms Of Butter Quota

Fonterra chairman Henry van der Heyden today said he was very disappointed by the new European Union regulation that has substantially altered the entry of New Zealand butter to the EU. The new regulation splits the previously one-year quota of 76,667 tonnes into two six-monthly periods.

The new regulation represents unnecessary and unjustified interference with New Zealand's butter trade, said Mr van der Heyden.

"Fonterra cannot see how the EU Commission can reasonably claim that the small proportion of New Zealand butter entering under the quota can cause problems in the very large EU butter market.

"We are particularly concerned that the new regulation does not meet the EU's scheduled WTO commitments, which specify a one-year period for New Zealand to supply butter under the quota.

"There is a bitter irony that after settling a long-standing problem affecting New Zealand's quota butter trade with Europe, we are immediately faced with a new restriction on our trade. Fonterra strongly supports the New Zealand Government in its protests to the Commission about the new regulation."

-ends-

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