29 Oct 2014

Industry worried at TPP dairy reports

2:11 pm on 29 October 2014

The New Zealand dairy industry says its alarmed at reports that the US and Japan could be looking exclude dairy from a possible Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal.

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) said dairy is one of the most protected sectors among TPP countries - with tariffs so high in some countries that dairy trade is effectively prevented.

dairy farming

Dairy is New Zealand's biggest export earner. Photo: Photo NZ

It is urging TPP partners not to compromise on agricultural trade and in a statement said this:

"We urge leaders to stand by their 2011 commitment to a comprehensive deal. This cannot be achieved without addressing access for dairy, which remains one of the most protected sectors amongst the TPP partner countries. "

The Labour Party trade spokesperson Phil Goff said the late inclusion of Japan in the TPP negotiations was a huge mistake that is going to hit New Zealand farmers where it hurts.

Mr Goff believes that the comprehensive freeing up of agricultural trade that farmers had been hoping for is now off the cards.

He said it appears that Japan's inclusion in the negotiations has scuttled meaningful agricultural trade reform for farmers.

"I think that it is very clearly hurting the interests of our farmers when our Minister of Trade is now feeling compelled to talk about downgrading the quality of the agreement and tolerating tariffs not as a transitional measure but as something that may stay in place permanently."

Trade Minister Tim Groser told Radio New Zealand yesterday that the government will not sign an agreement that does not bring benefits to the dairy sector.

And Mr Groser is still confident a satisfactory deal can be struck.

"We can't do a deal that would exclude New Zealand's number one export which is dairy products - it's 33 or 34 percent of New Zealand exports.

"But I don't take that pessimistic view, I think we will be able to find a way through, it won't be the perfect deal."

  • What now for the TPP deal?
  • TPP benefits for farmers doubted
  • Farmers push for TPP tariff elimination