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Meat industry calls for rapid TPP agreement

By Carina Perkins , 17-Dec-2012

Meat industry calls for rapid TPP agreement

New Zealand’s red meat sector has called for a speedy resolution to Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, pointing out that a deal would generate jobs and create new opportunities for exporters.

The 15th round of TPP negotiations were held in Auckland, New Zealand recently, with more than 500 delegates from the participating countries of New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Chile, Peru, the USA, and new members Mexico and Canada. The next round of negotiations will take place in Singapore from 4-13 March 2013, with a number of TPP leaders stating that they would like to reach an agreement next year.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) said it was important an agreement was reached by October 2013, and that this included the elimination of agricultural trade barriers, including tariffs.

“The TPP agreement has the potential to create new opportunities for all red meat exporting countries through improved market access, reducing both tariff and non-tariff barriers, and trade facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region,” said MIA chairman Bill Falconer.

The Federated Farmers of New Zealand (FFNZ) called for a “21st century trade agreement” that “liberalises trade across all goods and services”.

“The TPP was established to eliminate all tariffs and to bring a new level of discipline to the use of non-tariff barriers,” said Bruce Wills, FFNZ national president. “Trade generates jobs and wealth. Negotiators must adhere to the TPP objectives – a high-quality comprehensive agreement – to ensure this deal is of real value to the region.”

Beef alliance

B+LNZ chairman Mike Petersen pointed out that New Zealand had established strong links with beef organisations in other countries participating in the TPP.

“Both Canada and Mexico are part of the Five Nations Beef Alliance along with Australia, the US and ourselves. Together, we represent producers from countries that account for one-third of global beef production and approximately half of global beef exports,” he said.

Other members of the alliance have made similar calls for a quick resolution to negotiations and an agreement that includes the removal of agricultural trade barriers.

“We need to bring these negotiations to a timely close,” said Jock Laurie, president of the National Farmers’ Federation of Australia. “The leaders of the TPP countries have stated a desire to complete negotiations in 2013. Negotiators need to demonstrate real progress on difficult issues and express their commitment to this timeframe.”

Kathleen Sullivan, executive director of the Canadian Agri-food Trade Alliance, added: “When completed, the TPP will become a precedent for all future trade deals in the Asia-Pacific region.Establishing a high standard at the beginning ensures there is no room for future entrants into the TPP to water the deal down.”

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