28 Nov 2017

'No guarantees' for red meat trade post-Brexit

11:36 am on 28 November 2017

UK and New Zealand ministers have been discussing the future of post-Brexit trade between the two countries.

Britain's International Trade Secretary Liam Fox leaving 10 Downing Street, on November 22, 2017.

Britain's international trade secretary Liam Fox (file). Photo: AFP

Britain's international trade secretary Liam Fox, in New Zealand on a four-day visit, has met Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Trade Minister David Parker.

New Zealand exports about $2 billion of red meat to the EU and has a tariff-free quota of 228,000 tonnes of sheepmeat a year.

Exporters are worried about what will happen to this quota during negotiations for Britain to leave the European Union.

Mr Parker said he and his UK counterpart were committed to keeping maximum certainty and stability in bilateral trade, but Mr Fox had given no "absolute guarantees" that the red meat sector would be unaffected.

"We're trying to ensure that, for example the red meat sector is not prejudiced by the division of quotas that we currently have into Europe, including the United Kingdom," said Mr Parker.

"If that is divided ... it could be done in a way that is less advantageous to New Zealand."

He said Mr Fox made clear he had only a certain amount of influence over what happened to New Zealand quotas.

"He made the point that not all of this sits within the control of the United Kingdom and that some of it sits within the control of the European Union."

The ministers also discussed how to ensure all citizens share in the benefits from international trade, including by promoting regional development and providing opportunities for businesses of all sizes.

Mr Parker said he was waiting for a formal response to the trade proposal New Zealand made to the UK last week.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Trade Minister David Parker.

Trade Minister David Parker, right, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the APEC meeting this month. Photo: AFP