Speaking at the New Zealand High Commission in London, Grant believed the split proposal was wrong and was “against” WTO rules, as well as being contrary to New Zealand’s views.
The UK and EU officially notified the WTO of their draft tariff schedules, which proposes to split tariff rate quotas that allow access for New Zealand sheepmeat and beef exports.
The plan sparked a negative response from the New Zealand meat sector including B+LNZ’s and MIA’s chief executives, Sam McIvor and Tim Ritchie respectively, who opposed the EU’s proposal in person, as well as through a joint written submission to the EU Commission.
“New Zealand has always been a tough fighter around the WTO because we see that as significant in terms of future trade negotiations and partnerships going forward,” said Grant. “From a New Zealand perspective, we have probably been the most stable in terms of the economy and our position of products in the market.
“We are seeing high venison, beef and lamb prices in New Zealand, which have created a situation for uncertainty because we don’t know what that final structure is in terms of a development in the Brexit negotiations,” Grant added. “Talking about splitting a quota, when we don’t know what formal arrangement there is going to be, it is quite significant.”
Despite disagreeing with the WTO quota plan, Grant added that New Zealand had the flexibility in the market to shift products.
Grant was appointed as Brexit representative for the meat bodies in April to help strengthen the New Zealand red meat sector’s ties with the UK and safeguard the country’s exports to key markets.