26 May 2014

Call for TPP deal to liberalise beef trade

7:59 am on 26 May 2014

Some of the world's biggest beef producers are urging the countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations not to water down their ambitions for free agricultural trade.

beef cattle

Photo: PHOTO NZ

While Trade Minister Tim Groser has previously talked tough on agricultural free trade saying no exceptions would be made, he's now saying he, and therefore New Zealand, could be open to a TPP deal that does not abolish tariffs on all agricultural products.

"If you the countries with the major political problems, can't go the whole way, okay, tell us what you would propose."

The Five Nations Beef Alliance which comprises New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, the United States and Canada and which produces a third of the world's beef is demanding any TPP deal removes all tariffs on beef.

The alliance is upset the TPP negotiations are drifting away from their original goal of fully liberalising agricultural trade.

Beef + Lamb's Ben O'Brien said the deal must be comprehensive and of high quality.

"There seems to be the possibility that people might be considering something less than fully comprehensive with full elimination. We're saying that from a beef producers' and exporters' point of view that's not going to be acceptable."