26 May 2014

Beef alliance calls for tariff removal

2:25 pm on 26 May 2014

Some of the biggest beef producing nations have sent a clear message to the countries involved in the Trans Pacific Partnership trade negotiations that tariffs need to go and that a watered-down deal isn't good enough.

The Five Nations Beef Alliance which comprises New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, the United States and Canada, and produces a third of the world's beef, is demanding any TPP deal removes all tariffs on beef.

But the latest indications from the TPP negotiations are that the countries involved may allow some market protectionism for agricultural goods to remain in place.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is part of the Five Nations Beef Alliance.

General manager of market access Ben O'Brien says any deal must be high quality and comprehensive - and anything less is unacceptable.

He says for beef farmers, better access to Japan is the goal.

"Japan is the major issue, you know, we spend about $80 million on tariffs there per annum. And the tariff rate's high 38 percent going up to 50 percent when it reaches a certain level."

He said high tariffs make beef expensive for the consumer and are a cost to everybody involved in the transaction.

"So we'd like to see those come back to zero. I think that's really the major prize as far as the beef industry is concerned from the TPP nations," Mr O'Brien said.