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Groser Signs Trade Agreement, Encourages Farmers


5 November 2009

Trade Minister, the Hon Tim Groser, told Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre producers yesterday that the world is their oyster in spite of mounting pressure from the high Kiwi dollar and climate change policy.

“Federated Farmers shares the Minister’s view that unfettered trade access to developing Asian nations will lift New Zealand up the OECD,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“Minister Groser had an influential hand in the signing of free trade agreements (FTA) with Malaysia and China among others. To illustrate the importance of these developing markets, exports to China have grown by 69 percent since the FTA came into force last year.

“An overwhelming majority, or about 80 percent, of this increase came from the agricultural sector. Opening up trade with developing nations will certainly help alleviate some of the challenges to sheep and beef farmers’ profitability.

“Although Minister Groser did not address domestic climate change policy in his speech, he felt the planet’s increasing population would influence the direction of international climate change policy. The world needs to eat after all.

“Global food supplies must grow by more than 20 percent over the next 50 years to feed the world’s increasing population. Developing nations like China and India are right on New Zealand’s doorstep and most cannot provide enough protein to feed their emerging middle class. This can only be good news for New Zealand exporters.

“We are well placed to take advantage of these opportunities as long as the Government continues to break down trade barriers. New Zealand also has an abundance of natural resources, giving us a distinct comparative advantage.

“Minister Groser quite rightly pointed out that agriculture utilises barely 5 percent of New Zealand’s fresh water resource. This chimes with Federated Farmers call for more water storage infrastructure to secure the future of farming.

“Yet farmers also need the confidence to invest in their businesses. However, Minister Groser’s belief that New Zealand’s climate change response will dictate the future success of our industry won’t bolster that confidence.

“The fact is New Zealand doesn’t need an Emissions Trading Scheme to meet our international obligations. Our agricultural sector contributes less than 0.01 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Federated Farmers wants all OECD countries to instead commit 0.05 percent of GDP to low carbon research, raising $88 million in New Zealand annually and $34 billion globally,” Mr Wills concluded.

For more information please visit the following website: http://http://WWW.FEDFARM.ORG.NZ


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