WELLINGTON, NZ – Round four of negotiations, which is taking place this week to expand the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), is an important step toward a free-trade agreement (FTA) with key export markets for New Zealand’s red-meat sector, said Mike Petersen, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman, and Bill Falconer, Meat Industry Association chairman.

Both organizations are seeking an agreement in relation to agriculture, Petersen said. “We will be looking for the elimination of tariffs and barriers to trade – essentially creating a competitive playing field for New Zealand’s red-meat sector,” he added.

Strategic benefits for meat-trade interests in the Asia/Pacific region will be provided by the TPP, Falconer said. “The United States is New Zealand’s largest and most-important market for beef and is also an important market for sheepmeat,” he added. “However, New Zealand’s beef exports to the US complement their domestic production, which benefits both New Zealand and US beef producers. Lean New Zealand beef is mixed with US domestic beef to produce ground-beef products used predominantly in the foodservice industry. This increases demand for US beef trimmings, which would otherwise be in less demand by their beef processors.”

The agreement would also deliver opportunities with the growing list of other participants in the TPP, including Australia, Singapore, Brunei, Chile, Peru, Vietnam and Malaysia, Petersen said. It has the potential to drive new trade flows in the powerhouse Asia/Pacific region.