The UK will not be flooded with New Zealand dairy products after Brexit, even if tariffs and quotas are removed, according to a leading Kiwi co-operative.
David Richmond, trade strategy manager at Fonterra, made the remarks during an evidence session held by the International Trade Select Committee.
New Zealand dairy and lamb exports make up almost 60 per cent of the country’s total goods exports to the UK, and there was concern that a lowering of tariffs or removal of quotas would open the door to an increase.
But asked whether a liberalised trade regime in the UK would boost New Zealand dairy exports, Mr Richmond said: “No, you would not see a flood of New Zealand dairy products coming to the UK.
“New Zealand is a large exporter of dairy products, 95 per cent of what we produce is exported, but in the world scale of milk production, we are actually very small. We only produce around 2 per cent of the world’s total milk.
“Our supply coming out of New Zealand now is likely to be heavily constrained, so you will not see the 5,6,7 or 10 per cent growth in milk coming out of New Zealand as you have seen historically.
“I would add the UK is a highly efficient dairy producer in its own right and the fifth largest dairy exporter in the world after the EU27, New Zealand, the US and Australia. It is a strong competitor on the global market.”
Mr Richmond also suggested other markets such as China and South East Asia offer more of a return for New Zealand dairy products than the UK.
“We are incentivised to send our products to markets in the world where we get the best return, that is what our farmers pay us to do”, he said.
“If we were sending product into the UK below what we could get elsewhere, then we should not be in our jobs.”