25 Nov 2016

The caviar of proteins

From On the Farm, 9:36 pm on 25 November 2016

Cattle Photo: courtesy Beef and Lamb NZ

Industry leaders from seven top beef-producing nations have been in New Zealand to discuss the trials of farming beef and selling it to the world.

Between them, the members of the International beef Alliance (IBA);  New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Mexico, Canada, Paraguay and Brazil produce more than 60 percent of all beef consumed in the world.  

Animal welfare, increasing beef consumption, beef farming's impact on the environment and competition from other proteins were on the agenda.


I.B.A Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

Access to trade and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) were also hot topics.

Beef farmers in the United States are vowing to keep fighting for trade liberalisation despite Donald Trump's announcement he will withdraw his country from the TPP trade deal on his first day in the White House.

The farmers' industry organisation the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) had been lobbying hard for the deal in the hope it would come before Congress and be ratified before the new administration is sworn in January.


Cattle Photo: courtesy Beef and Lamb NZ

The NCBA's Kent Bacus, who attended the IBA,  says his organisation will  continue to pursue TPP or any other trade agreement that will tear down the tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade that put U.S. beef at a competitive disadvantage.

"It's important our congress understand that if they fail to move forward with TPP then the United States is ceding all of our influence in the South Pacific to our competitors and most importantly  to China."

Kent says last year the US exported beef worth $1.3 billion to its largest market, Japan. It also faced a 38.5 per cent tariff and was only allowed to export animals of a certain age.

"Those restrictions are not based on free market principles or sound science."  He says the trade restrictions limit the USA's ability to meet consumer demand in foreign markets.