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New Zealand gains increased beef access to the EU

New Zealand gains increased beef access to the EU

New Zealand has negotiated an additional 1,000 tonnes of beef access to Europe, trebling our current annual beef quota, as a result of last year's enlargement of the European Union, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said this excellent result substantially expanded our existing beef tariff quota into the EU, and resulted from complex negotiations over many months.

Currently New Zealand can export only 300 tonnes of beef to the European Union under its country specific tariff quota. These quotas provide for a reduced tariff or duty rate for a specified quantity of imported goods annually from a specific country. Imports over and above this level in any one year face a higher tariff rate.

Mr Sutton said New Zealand's increased beef access compensates for markets lost in Malta and Cyprus, where New Zealand had built up a valuable trade prior to 2004.

"This result on beef complements gains New Zealand negotiated on sheepmeat tariff quota access (1154 tonnes) and butter tariff quota access (735 tonnes) that I announced last month, and it completes New Zealand's trade compensation negotiations resulting from the EU expansion."

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 fell on some New Zealand products, with immediate benefits for our exporters. Other tariffs rose, increasing duties on our exports in important sectors such as meat and dairy. Under WTO rules, New Zealand was entitled to negotiate with the EU to compensate for trade access losses.

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