6 Jul 2010

NZ meat seen as sticking point in Sth Korean trade deal

12:51 pm on 6 July 2010

A meat industry leader says convincing South Koreans that New Zealand meat is complementary to their produce will be key to any free trade deal.

Beef & Lamb New Zealand, formerly Meat & Wool, chair Mike Petersen is currently in South Korea, attending a business forum.

It's been organised to restart free trade negotiations which have largely stalled because of Korean concerns that the New Zealand agricultural sector poses a threat.

Korea is New Zealand's second largest beef market and a key market for other meat products. Exports were worth more than $150 million last year.

Mike Petersen says the tarriffs into Korea are 40% for beef, while for processed meat it is up to 72%.

He says the agricultural lobby in South Korea is very strong, and it will take a lot of work to convince farmers there that New Zealand meat is complementary to their produce.

He says New Zealand is competing against Australia and America and not domestic producers, but adds "they struggle to accept that."