The conclusion of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is set to have a positive, yet small, impact on the dairy industry. Fonterra chairman John Wilson claimed that, although the dairy outcome is “far from perfect” due to the strong protectionism demonstrated by the US, the sector appreciated the negotiation efforts made by Trade Minister Tim Groser.
“Dairy has been very hard to resolve,” commented Wilson, “and New Zealand has managed to get some progress against the odds. While I am very disappointed that the deal falls far short of the TPP’s original ambition to eliminate all tariffs, there will be some useful gains for our dairy exporters in key TPP markets such as US, Canada and Japan. Greater benefits will be seen in future years as tariffs on some product lines are eliminated.”
Minister Groser underlined, on the other hand, that the main disappointment was the failure to get greater liberalisation for butter into North America and Japan. “There is movement on butter, but it is very modest in some markets,” he said, defending New Zealand for its decision to remain in the TPP even though a stronger dairy deal couldn’t be reached. “Not being in the TPP,” Groser explained, “would put New Zealand on a competitive disadvantage compared to other countries.”