UK-New Zealand trade deal a “blow” for British dairy, says Dairy UK
Judith Bryans speaking at the All Party Parliamentary Group Cheese Reception in 2017
Dr Judith Bryans has spoken out following the announcement of the trade agreement reached with New Zealand. Bryans highlighted the unbalance in market opportunities, the impact on sustainability and the lack of collaboration between government and UK agriculture.
Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK said of the agreement: “Make no mistake, this trade deal is a blow for UK dairy. This Agreement will see tariffs eliminated over five years and with its lower production costs, New Zealand will be able to seize its opportunity to grow an unlimited market share for its dairy products here in the UK.
“While true this agreement comes with export opportunities for agriculture and UK dairy companies, the UK market is many times bigger than that of New Zealand and offers more opportunities to the agricultural sector there.
“At a time when the UK dairy sector is, quite rightfully, challenging itself to continuously raise its own sustainability credentials, when it is already one of the most sustainable in the world, this deal – like the one with Australia – will reduce our control over the environmental footprint of UK food consumption.
“There’s absolutely no reason to assume this won’t continue to happen in further trade agreements either.
“In its haste to strike agreements, UK agriculture is being left vulnerable and massively undervalued compared to other domestic sectors of the economy. Long term, there’s a real risk that British agriculture will shrink, gambled away for little return. We could become overly dependent on imports as a result of a shrinking ag sector, with domestic food production capabilities undermined.
“Once these businesses are gone, it will not be easy to rebuild them. We are not opposed to trade deals; we welcome mutual opportunities, but we are opposed to agricultural being traded away.
“When countries like the US do trade deals, they have an inclusive and collaborative approach with their own industry. We’d like to see a similar inclusive approach being taken here, and for government to engage agriculture and industry in a meaningful and authentic way.
“We hope that all members of Parliament will stand up for domestic producers and businesses in scrutinising this deal and future ones, to make sure these deals are fair and mutually beneficially for all sectors.”