To be attributed to Simon Tucker, Fonterra Director Global Sustainability, Stakeholder Affairs and Trade.
Fonterra acknowledges the hard work of the New Zealand negotiators to conclude the NZ-EU FTA and the outcomes for other New Zealand export sectors.
The outcomes for dairy are, however, very disappointing and reflect the degree of protectionism which continues to afflict dairy trade globally and particularly amongst the EU dairy industry.
The agreement provides some small pockets of access for certain products over time, but overall commercial opportunities for products such as butter, cheese, milk powder and key proteins are constrained relative to the size of the EU market by a combination of small permanent quotas, in-quota tariff rates, and quota administration requirements.
At the same time, the outcomes for the EU on geographical indications (GIs) mean that Fonterra, alongside other New Zealand cheese producers, will no longer be able to use the term ‘feta’ after a transition period of nine years. Fonterra has, however, retained the ability to use the terms parmesan and gruyere.
Access to markets and the elimination of barriers to trade is critical at a time of growing geopolitical uncertainty to provide optionality for exporters, particularly into markets where customers and consumers value New Zealand sustainability and provenance credentials.
New Zealand’s future export success, and the jobs that this creates across regional New Zealand, depend on addressing the large trade barriers remaining across many markets as part of New Zealand’s future trade agenda, including through any upgrades or reviews of the NZ-EU FTA.