WELLINGTON, NZ – New Zealand and Taiwan have signed an Economic Cooperation Agreement that results in a significant outcome for the New Zealand sheep and beef sector, said Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association.

Getting rid of all beef tariffs within two years and sheepmeat tariffs within four years is important news, added B+LNZ Chairman Mike Petersen and MIA Chairman Bill Falconer. “This agreement will eliminate tariffs with Taiwan and it complements New Zealand’s existing free trade agreements with China and Hong Kong,” Petersen said.

For 2012, New Zealand exports of red meat products to Taiwan incurred around NZ$18 million (US$14 million) in tariffs. The Economic Cooperation Agreement with Taiwan will eventually eliminate these tariff payments, giving New Zealand’s red meat products a competitive edge in the market, NZ officials said. The agreement also includes mechanisms to address any technical or non-tariff barriers that could restrict New Zealand trade opportunities in the event they arise.

Taiwan is a key market for the New Zealand sheep and beef sector with red meat consumption steadily increasing over the past decade, Falconer said. New Zealand exported NZ$208 million (US$165 million) worth of sheep and beef products, including co-products, to Taiwan for the year ending December 2012.
“Taiwan is an important beef market, being our third most important by value (NZ$134 million/US$106 million) and fourth by volume (19,647 tonnes) as at December 2012. Taiwan is New Zealand’s largest market for primary beef cuts, with New Zealand beef being well received because of its grass-fed origin and superior nutritional benefits.

“Demand for New Zealand sheepmeat is also strong in Taiwan, with New Zealand exporting NZ$52 million (9,510 tonnes) of sheepmeat in 2012. New Zealand exports are predominantly frozen sheepmeat and historically have included a high proportion of mutton for traditional dishes,” Falconer said.
Both organizations support the Government’s current free-trade negotiations with other significant trade partners in the Asia-Pacific, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Korea, India and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.