NZ FTA - Dismayed, Disappointed and Worse... Not Surprised
It has been announced under the new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that New Zealand exporters will be able to send 35,000 tonnes of lamb to the UK tariff-free for the first four years. This will then rise to 50,000 tonnes for 10 years before quotas are removed altogether - similar to what has previously been outlined with Australia.
NSA Scotland Chair, Jen Craig comments: "NSA Scotland is dismayed yet again that our elected representatives in Westminster are showing a complete lack of understanding of how their new trade deals are likely to impact on the sheep sector. Yet another tariff free access for a major sheep producing nation to the UK could be devastating for Scottish sheep farmers.The deal offers a lot to NZ sheep farmers and very little to UK sheep farmers and that is completely unacceptable. Our sheep farmers time and time again have had looming threats held over their heads and whilst Brexit was promised to be an opportunity, we have not yet seen any reward throughout the FTA process to date. The international trade secretary said British farmers should not be concerned about increased lamb imports because the lambing seasons were different in the UK and New Zealand. This statement is wholly inadmissible and whilst factually correct its simplest form, it is obvious that other factors come into play. Our nation's sheep farmers strive to produce the most natural, sustainable and nutritious protein source globally and the recognition and reward for this is sorely in need of improvement. We need significant safeguards and commitment shown to our industry and equivalent standards of production is a starting point."