[6 October/ Stuff]

The European Union and the United Kingdom have completed a preliminary agreement to change the terms of New Zealand’s meat access to the region. Meat Industry Association Chief Executive Tim Ritchie said New Zealand would now have to pay a 50 percent tariff on any extra New Zealand sheep meat Britain decides to export over the quota. The existing arrangement exports $2 billion of New Zealand red meat to the EU with a tariff-free quota of 228,000 tonnes of sheepmeat annually. The EU and UK have agreed to split the quota according to where the meat was previously consumed over a three-year period, which Mr Ritchie believes will detract New Zealand’s flexibility. Beef+Lamb NZ Chairman James Parsons said it was concerning that a deal was made without consulting New Zealand. Mr Parsons said distorting a market by trade restrictions upsets a finely tuned balance; however, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials were working to ensure New Zealand’s interests were maintained.