Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) president Tim Cullinan has said the proposed trade deal between the UK and New Zealand is very concerning for Irish sheep farmers.
“This is precisely the dangerous scenario that we have signalled following the Brexit vote in 2016. Trade deals between the UK and third countries have the potential to undermine what is a very important market for our exports,” he said.
Cullinan said he supported National Farmers' Union (NFU) concerns about the standards that apply to imports from third countries.
“We have worked closely with NFU since the Brexit vote nearly five years ago. Farmers here and in the UK are committed to the highest standards and we are opposed to any trade deal that does not recognise those standards,” he said.
This free trade deal will mean New Zealand farmers and exporters will build up to full tariff- and quota-free access to the UK market.
This position was reached by the UK with Australia in June and discussions continue to finalise that deal.
The agreement in principle reveals the level of access the UK will grant for NZ beef, sheepmeat and dairy products to the UK market.
For beef after 15 years trade will be fully liberalised with no tariff and no quota on UK imports from NZ. There will be a progressive build-up to this, starting with a 12,000t
tariff-free quota in year one, building up to 38,820t in year 10.
Sheepmeat trade will be fully liberalised with no tariffs or quotas after 15 years. However, the build-up to this is slightly different. From years one to four, there will be a tariff-free quota of 35,000t and between years five and 15, there will be a tariff-free quota of 50,000t per year.
Butter and cheese
UK butter imports from NZ will be fully liberalised after six years. Again, there will be a build-up, starting with a 7,000t quota in year one, building up with equal annual increases to reach 15,000t in year five, with tariff- and quota-free access from year six.
For cheese, it is a similar process, with year one tariff-free quota set at 24,000t, increasing to 48,000t in year five through equal annual increases. After year six, UK imports of NZ cheese will have full liberalisation with no tariffs or quotas.
For a more in-depth analysis of the deal see Phelim O’Neill’s story here.