24 Apr 2013

Sector welcomes Japan to trade negotiations

6:38 am on 24 April 2013

The announcement that Japan is joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations is being welcomed with enthusiasm by representatives of New Zealand agricultural exports sector.

The meat and dairy industries have joined the horticulture sector in laying out the welcome mat.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Dr Scott Champion points out Japan is New Zealand's second most important export market for beef after the United States.

As a result, any reduction in Japan's tariffs would, he said, be "very significant" for beef farmers.

He points out that the Japanese tariff on beef imports stands at 38.5%.

"That's quite a whack to pay on your wholesale price of products going in and if that can be eliminated over time and within some reasonable time period it's quite a significant gain."

Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand chair Malcolm Bailey said Japan's entry to the talks is exciting because any decrease in tariffs would allow New Zealand exporters to extract more value and increase market share.

He said the New Zealand/Japanese partnership should also be a good fit since Japan is a "massive" importer of food while New Zealand is geared up to export a very high percentage of what it produces.