NSA responds to New Zealand Trade consultation to appeal for mutual respect for UK sheep farmers adjusting to Brexit
8th January 2019
The National Sheep Association (NSA) has responded to a New Zealand Government consultation on building a free trade deal with the UK after Brexit.
With sheepmeat being of equal scale in both countries yet trade being an entirely one way process, the NSA is recommending that the New Zealand Government take account of the interests of sheep farmers in the UK and are realistic in their asks in any future trade deal.
NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker comments: “Trade negotiations will be taking place at a time when our sheep industry is likely to be going through significant change and will be both vulnerable and opposed to any further trade pressure.
"Any new UK/NZ trade deal will cover all products, industries and services and it is crucial to recognise that for sheepmeat it is an entirely one way trade. We may be relatively equivalent in terms of flock size and productivity but what is not equivalent at all is the market place with the UK having a human population of some 66 million compared to New Zealand’s 4.8 million. For sheep farming there is much to be gained by New Zealand in striking a free trade deal with the UK post Brexit, and much to be lost by UK sheep farmers. Our own sheep industry will already be struggling if Brexit does not go smoothly, as seems apparent today, and if New Zealand is given the go ahead to import a higher quantity of lamb than comes in now it will risk either pressure on prices or the UK having to chase equivalent export markets elsewhere.
"I would be highly uncomfortable with the UK having higher environmental and welfare standards and building niche markets elsewhere in the world, and in the meantime feeding our own people on lower standard and cheaper products from overseas. That is not the way to engage our own citizens with sustainable food production and land management.”
NSA has submitted a response to the New Zealand department of international trade to ask for this consideration to be made by New Zealand during this process.
Mr Stocker continues: “The UK and New Zealand are both countries with highly significant sheep industries and we hope there will be mutual respect shown to our sheep farmers in what could be a very difficult period going forward.”