New Zealand expresses concerns over future sheep meat quotas

The Meat Industry Association (MIA) of New Zealand has expressed concerns over decisions to split its sheep meat quota between the UK and European Union (EU) after the end of the Brexit transition period.

New Zealand exporters are preparing for trade disruption in the form of delays and new processes as the likelihood of a no-deal between the UK and EU is becoming evermore greater.

The UK and EU have agreed to unilaterally halve New Zealand’s sheep meat quota of 228,000 tonnes between the two markets. Despite higher exports of sheep meat into the UK in recent months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, New Zealand has rarely filled that quota and therefore trade should not be significantly affected.

However as part of this agreement, the UK share of NZ beef quota will total around 450 tonnes, a ‘commercially unviable’ and therefore useless allocation according to MIA Chief Executive Sirma Karapeeva, given that any exports over the quota will face a 12% tariff.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade say that it is seeking a continuation of current access to both markets from the beginning of 2021 as the current plans remove the flexibility for exporters to adapt to demand.

On a similar vein, second round of negotiations for a UK - NZ free trade agreement have been completed and the third round is planned for late January 2021, notably after the end of the Brexit transition period.