Beef + Lamb board call on govt for support

By Dr Scott Champion

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Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) represents the interests of New Zealand sheep and beef producers, advocating on their behalf.

The development of trade relationships and agreements is a long-term activity, requiring a steady and consistent effort from Government and industry organisations. Trade deals are made between governments, but B+LNZ performs a major complementary role in promoting and assisting negotiation. In many cases the decision to seek a trade agreement with another country will be generated by industry.

For example, B+LNZ develops trade priorities, in consultation with the sector's processing and exporting members, based on factors such as macro-economic and demographic information, current trade levels, tariff rates, non-tariff barriers and competitive positioning.

These trade priorities are communicated to Government for consideration.

Once governments have agreed to consider a stronger trade relationship,B+LNZ supports the New Zealand Government to ensure a successful outcome for all. B+LNZ develops negotiation objectives and priorities with supporting trade information and other analysis.

In many cases, trade is only one component of agreements between New Zealand and other countries. Opportunities for cultural and technical exchange can form an important part of the overall relationship.

In these relationships' early stages there is often concern that New Zealand, as an efficient producer, will out-compete domestic producers and take over the market. This may seem unlikely, as we already sell all our product and our ability to significantly increase production is limited by the available land resource and competing uses. Nevertheless, it is a real concern for those producing red meat in some markets.

To assist in this understanding B+LNZ undertakes outreach programmes to producer organisations in both major and emerging markets.

As trade negotiations reach their final stages there are often times when Government negotiators seek further guidance from the sector. This may be as simple as checking that an offer meets the sheep and beef sector's needs, or it may be to get a better understanding of a particular stumbling block where industry may be able to provide a creative solution which satisfies all parties.

Bi-lateral and multi-lateral deals are now the world in which we live. New Zealand needs to keep up with the pace and continue to seek better access to the growing middle class in Asia and other emerging markets.

- Hamilton News

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