21 October 2021 08:31 AM

Farmers could be 'put out of business' by New Zealand free trade deal, says NFU

21 October 2021

The UK and New Zealand yesterday reached a comprehensive post-Brexit trade agreement, but the UK’s largest farming organisation has expressed worry over the move.

The government says the deal will cut red tape for businesses, end tariffs on UK exports and create new opportunities for tech and services companies, while making it easier for UK professionals to live and work in New Zealand.

As with the recent Australia deal, the agreement will see tariffs between the two countries progressively eliminated over a 15-year period.

The deal was agreed in-principle over a video call on Wednesday between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

UK-New Zealand trade was worth £2.3 billion last year and is set to grow under the deal. The deal will remove barriers to trade and deepen access for our advanced tech and services companies, while making it easier for smaller businesses to break into the New Zealand market.

Tariffs as high as 10% will be removed on a huge range of UK goods, from clothing and footwear to buses, ships, bulldozers and excavators, giving British exporters an advantage over international rivals in the New Zealand import market - a market which is expected to grow by around 30% by 2030. High-quality New Zealand products loved by British consumers, from Sauvignon Blanc wine to Manuka honey and kiwi fruits, could be cheaper to buy.

Minettee Batters, president of the UK’s National Farmers Union expressed her concerns regarding the deal on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning: “I think we should be very worried about it. It will have a massive impact because we have fully liberalised our marketplace, not just on lamb, but on dairy. We have the highest standards on dairy, we have very high costs of production here… our government must now explain how these deals will benefit UK farming”.

The NFU provides professional representation and services to its membership, and regularly negotiates with the government and national organisations on behalf of English and Welsh member farmers.

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