New Zealand has been left ‘disappointed’ by the UK and EU’s refusal to engage with its proposals for splitting Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs).
Mike Peterson, New Zealand’s special agriculture trade envoy, told a Euractiv event in London last night (February 25) that he hoped to solve the issue ‘amicably’ because demanding greater market access would be bad for UK farmers.
An agreement between British and European negotiators to use historical import volumes to split the EU’s TRQs, which allow certain amounts of produce to enter the bloc from countries outside, has run into problems at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
New Zealand joined the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Uruguay and Thailand in objecting to the deal because a separate UK quota would mean exporters could not compensate for low British demand by selling to another EU country, as they can at present.
Mr Peterson said: “From New Zealand’s point of view, this is a very bad signal at the high level around what is going to happen in future discussions on having a constructive trading relationship.
“We feel there should have been a lot more consultation. We have been promised third party countries would not be worse off as a result of Brexit, and yet the opposite is happening.”
Asked by Farmers Guardian how New Zealand would like to see the issue resolved, Mr Peterson explained the country had proposed maintaining a common quota ceiling but sharing information on volumes traded to maintain flexibility for exporters.
“We have not really started talking compensation yet, because we want to try and resolve it amicably,” he added.
“If we start asking for compensation, that is going to be a real problem for the farmers here if we get more access over and above what is currently on offer.
“We have put together a couple of concepts and put them in front of both the UK and Europe, but to date, they have not been too engaged in those suggestions.
“That has been disappointing, but we are not giving up on this.”