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New Zealand-Thailand Closer Economic Partnership

New Zealand-Thailand Closer Economic Partnership

The Government announcement that New Zealand and Thailand have finalised a Closer Economic Partnership (CEP) has been welcomed by Meat & Wool New Zealand.

“Thailand is an important future market for the New Zealand meat and wool sectors,” commented Jeff Grant, Chairman of Meat & Wool New Zealand.

“Thailand’s economy, like many in the South Asian region, is currently experiencing rapid and consistent economic growth. It also has a growing hotel and restaurant sector, which demands high quality beef for the tourist trade.”

“On implementation the CEP will provide immediate improvements in market access for our producers and create new opportunities for the future. Australia finalised a similar agreement with Thailand earlier this year, and it is encouraging to know that New Zealand producers and exporters will not be comparatively disadvantaged in the Thai market,” says Jeff Grant.

The CEP will result in tariff cuts for meat and wool exports to Thailand. “The 1% tariff for raw wool will be eliminated immediately, however, the tariffs for beef, offal and sheepmeat will be phased out over specific time periods,” he said.

The current 30% tariff on sheepmeat will drop to 24% on implementation and then phase to zero by 2010. The 50% tariff on beef will drop to 40% on implementation and will phase down to zero by 2020. The 30% tariff on beef offal will phase to zero by 2020.

Mr Grant said a special safeguard provision for beef and beef offal imports was included in the agreement, but noted that it allowed for a review of the safeguard levels after three years.

“The safeguard provision allows New Zealand to export beef and beef offal up to certain volumes, however, once the volume levels are triggered, Thailand will be entitled to charge additional duties,” he said. The Australian agreement contains a similar provision.

In the 12 months to September 2004, New Zealand exported $17 million (FOB) of meat and wool products to Thailand and just over half of this was made up of raw wool. Volumes of sheepmeat, beef and offal exports are expected to continue to grow strongly off a low base.

Notes for Editors: New Zealand Exports to Thailand for year ended 30 September 2004:

Lamb: 268 tonnes $2.4 million (FOB)

Beef: 432 tonnes $4.7 million

Beef offal: 764 tonnes $1.5 million

Wool: 1,425 tonnes $8.6 million

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