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Red meat sector welcomes conclusion of Korea FTA

Red meat sector welcomes conclusion of Korea FTA

The recently-concluded free trade agreement (FTA) with Korea will provide a major boost for New Zealand’s red meat exports there, according to the chairmen of Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

Earlier today, Prime Minister John Key and Korean President Park Geun-hye announced that the FTA negotiation had been concluded.

“This deal is great news for sheep and beef farmers and meat exporters,” said Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman James Parsons.

Korea is New Zealand’s fourth-largest beef export market by volume, taking nearly $110 million of beef exports last year. However, the trade volume has dropped significantly in recent years, at least in part due to the tariff advantage enjoyed by US beef exporters under that country’s 2012 FTA with Korea.

New Zealand beef currently faces a 40% tariff when it enters the Korean market, but the FTA will remove that tariff over a 15 year period. The Korean tariff on US beef is currently at 32% and is also being phased out over 15 years.

Last year the Korean tariffs charged on New Zealand’s beef exports added up to about $43.5 million. That is effectively about $1.34 of additional cost per kilogram of carcass weight on beef products that were shipped to Korea.

The additional cost imposed on New Zealand’s beef exports by these tariffs will start going down from the day that the FTA enters into force. In the first year of implementation the tariff cost is forecast to come down to about $1.25 per kilogram of carcass weight.

“We were at risk of losing our competitiveness in the Korean market, due to the US FTA and other deals that Korea has signed with beef exporters in recent months, but this deal will make sure that we don’t fall further behind our competitors,” said MIA chairman Bill Falconer.

“Ensuring meaningful access to Korea has been one of the industry’s highest trade priorities.”

The FTA negotiation with Korea had been running since 2009, which indicates that some issues had taken significant time to resolve.

"We know this negotiation has been a tough one, but for our beef exports it is a lifeline in a market that we were at real risk of losing,” said Parsons.

“Huge credit has to go to the government negotiators who have been working on this FTA with Korea, and to Trade Minister Groser. They’ve done an excellent job for Kiwi sheep and beef farmers and exporters,” said Falconer.

B+LNZ and MIA work together to improve access for sheep and beef products to overseas markets, including by providing in-depth analysis in support of the Government’s FTA negotiation efforts.


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