‘Glimmer of Hope in Dark Times’: UK Free Trade Agreement hailed by farmers, exporters and community leaders


A major free trade agreement between New Zealand and the UK has been hailed by primary sector leaders in Waikato as a major asset for an economy suffering from Covid.

Announced by the government on Thursday, the comprehensive deal “in principle” will remove tariffs entirely on 97% of goods once a final deal is reached, with beef and mutton exports becoming completely duty free. customs in 15 years.

Among those happy to hear the news was Otorohanga farmer Michael Woodward.

“Anything that allows us to compete on a fairer stage is a good thing. Suppliers and farmers need collateral, and freeing up trade between nations makes perfect sense… It’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket.

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The timing of the deal’s announcement, with the Covid infiltration into New Zealand well underway, could not have been better, he said.

“Farmers hate uncertainty and times have been pretty uncertain lately. Things are improving and that is helping. Milk payment [from Fonterra] is doing well at the moment so that will help us a bit more and keep us smiling.

Woodward’s views were echoed by former Federated Farmers chairman and current board member Chris Lewis, who lives in Pukeatua, south of Cambridge.

“Any positive news is welcome. We all need something to look forward to. I was looking forward to Work Weekend, but it doesn’t seem like that is happening for many of us now. Hopefully we can still look forward to Christmas.

“Kudos to the Minister of Commerce and staff for crossing the line. It’s not an easy thing to do, so thank you to them… You will remember the Chinese deal that was negotiated by the Clark government, and just watch where it happened.

“The Asian market is huge and close to where we live, but we still need a lot of customers. The UK has been a traditional market for us, and this deal gives us more options to send our awesome product. “

Waikato Chamber of Commerce chief executive Don Good described the deal as “a tremendous opportunity for New Zealand exporters.”

“We should all be thankful that Brexit happened… It’s going to be good to go back to the 1950s and 1960s when we were the garden of the UK.

Things are looking up for the agricultural sector, says Chris Lewis, a Waikato farmer and a member of the board of directors of Federated Farmers.

Lawrence Gullery / Stuff

Things are looking up for the agricultural sector, says Chris Lewis, a Waikato farmer and a member of the board of directors of Federated Farmers.

“Now Britain is spreading its wings in the South Pacific. It is very good news that the Covid is taking its hold on the country. Now we just want to keep going and make it happen.

Matamata-Piako Mayor Ash Tanner added his voice to the chorus of approval.

“In these dark times that we are going through, it gives us a glimmer of hope. There haven’t been a lot of bright spots lately, and this deal seems to offer a lot of potential. You never know what can come of it.

“The agreement will benefit this region quite well. There’s a lot of dairy and beef that comes from here, obviously, but there’s also honey, onions, all kinds of things.

Don Good, Managing Director of the Waikato Chamber of Commerce: “We should all be thankful that Brexit has taken place.

Tom Lee / Stuff

Don Good, Managing Director of the Waikato Chamber of Commerce: “We should all be thankful that Brexit has taken place. “

“The timing couldn’t be better. Those [Covid] closures only kill the economy. We all need to get back to work, but I’m not sure Covid is going to stop. We’ll just have to find ways to live with it. “

Mark Gardiner, the owner of Whitehall Fruitpackers in Karapiro, said he was welcome, but the deal wasn’t a big deal for his business.

“Essentially, business will continue as usual for us as we are a critical food service provider and we need to keep trucking.

“The whole country is under the strain of labor shortage. The lack of backpackers and casual labor really hurt, and the government hasn’t taken that much into account.

Matamata-Piako Mayor Ash Tanner: “The deal will benefit this region quite well.

Thing

Matamata-Piako Mayor Ash Tanner: “The deal will benefit this region quite well. “

“The UK is currently not a huge market for us. Asia is the big player – especially Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam are all good markets. Europe remains firm. The United States is also growing.

“It helps that there are now a lot of doctors and fitness experts who all say you should eat more kiwifruit. When you grow and export kiwifruit, it is very useful.

The UK is currently New Zealand’s seventh largest trading partner, with bilateral trade worth $ 6 billion by March 2020. Once the deal is signed, it is expected to increase exports by 40% and New Zealand’s gross domestic product of $ 970 million.

Among the immediate winners of the deal are wine and honey exporters, who currently face tariffs of $ 50 per 100 liters of wine and 16% on honey.

Mark Gardiner, Managing Director of Whitehall Fruitpackers: “The lack of backpackers and casual labor has really hurt.

Christel Yardley / Tips

Mark Gardiner, Managing Director of Whitehall Fruitpackers: “The lack of backpackers and casual labor has really hurt.

Tariffs will also be removed on onions and hoki on the day the agreement is signed. Tariffs on apples and mussels will be eliminated in three years.

Exports of butter and cheese will become duty free after five years, with quotas – the maximum volume of exports the UK will accept – increasing for butter from 7,000 tonnes to 15,000 tonnes and for cheese from 24,000 tonnes to 48,000 tonnes.

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