[6 November/Radio NZ Rural]

New Zealand looks unlikely to secure a better deal for dairy exporters as part of the renegotiation of the China NZ Free Trade Agreement. The agreement currently results in NZ dairy exports being hit with higher tariffs when specified volumes have been supplied and these limits are due to expire in 2022 and 2024 but the dairy industry had hoped to bring the dates forward as part of upgrading the overall deal. Trade Minister, David Parker, who is in Shanghai for the China International Import Expo appeared to downplay the prospect of the limits being removed early having spent time with China’s Vice Commerce Minister, Wang Shouwen. He highlighted that the limits are already scheduled to expire and at that point New Zealand will have the best dairy access into China of any country in the world, something he suggested it was hard for us to do better than. He stressed that the government’s focus on the upgrade extended wider than dairy with a focus on upgrading for services, electronic commerce and things that did not exist when the deal was first negotiated 10 years ago.