31 Jul 2015

TPP talks 'going backwards', says dairy leader

2:43 pm on 31 July 2015

A dairy sector leader says the dairy negotiations at the Trans Pacific Partnership talks in Hawaii appear to be going backwards.

Dairy Companies Association chairman Malcolm Bailey is in Hawaii, where ministers from the 12 countries involved in the TPP talks are meeting to try to conclude the deal after years of negotiations.

Mr Bailey said the United States, Canada and Japan were stonewalling New Zealand's bid for better access to their dairy markets.

"The offers made to New Zealand around access are appallingly bad across US, Canada and Japan, so at this stage there is no way we can contemplate doing a deal over all for New Zealand here, because dairy is our number one export earner.

"If we can't get something reasonable for dairy, it's just unthinkable for New Zealand to conclude here," Mr Bailey said.

"We're not even 10 percent of the way to where we need to be."

Federated Farmers dairy group chairman Andrew Hoggard took to social media yesterday to say New Zealand's dairy industry was "getting shafted" at the negotiations.

He told Radio New Zealand a bad TPP dairy deal could have far-reaching consequences for the country's farmers.

"The key worries would be if we get a really poor outcome with dairy, this deal will be precedent setting, so because it's such a high-level trade deal you could see the outcomes of it replicated in other trade deals.

"Over time, more countries will potentially join the TPP, rather than having individual little agreements, so we might find we're constantly on a loser, not securing good acess, so that is a real concern," he said.

He said Federated Farmers did not want the Government to sign up to the deal if it made things worse for the dairy industry.

"I'm pretty sure I'm united with all the other dairy industry leaders in this, is that we don't want the Government to conclude... the TPP if there isn't decent trade liberalisation for dairy in it.

"If we conclude a poor deal for dairy it could hurt us for many years to come," he said.

Trade Minister Tim Groser is on the record as saying New Zealand will not sign the TPP unless it moves the dairy sector forward in a "substantial way".

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