New Zealand Trade Deal: “There must be something in it for both sides”

UK and New Zealand have signed a comprehensive trade deal. Mark Tufnell, President of the CLA comments.

UK and New Zealand have signed a comprehensive trade deal. You can read the UK Government announcement here. Mark Tufnell, President of the Country Land & Business Association (CLA), which represents 28,000 farmers, land managers and rural businesses across England and Wales, says:

“Instinctively, we support free trade but by definition there has to be something in it for both sides. We see the opportunity for New Zealand farmers in this deal, but aren’t so sure what the opportunity is for those of us in the UK.

“Over time, New Zealand will be able to sell even larger quantities of meat and dairy produce into the UK, often produced much more cheaply than we can do ourselves. This risks undercutting UK farmers and putting a question mark over the viability of their businesses.

“Government is leaving the industry in the dark about what this deal really means for agriculture, setting a worrying precedent for other Free Trade Agreements we may strike with other major food exporters – many of which have far lower animal welfare and environmental standards than we do. Government promised that suitable checks and balances would be put in place to ensure we would not be undercut in this way. So far they have failed to materialise.

“We now need a serious conversation with government, particularly about the formation of the Trade & Agriculture Commission and a response to its predecessor’s report. If ministers expect us to compete on the global stage, they need to help us to do so and we need further support from trade envoys alongside better labelling.”