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Trade Policy

Beef + Lamb New Zealand works to improve access for sheep and beef products to overseas markets. Access to export markets is critical to farmers' profitability, as New Zealand exports more than 80 per cent of its beef and over 90 per cent of sheepmeat.

Eliminating barriers to trade

New Zealand liberalised its trade policies in the 1980s. Most products can now be imported tariff-free, giving New Zealanders cheaper access to all sorts of imported goods.

Many other countries, including some of our major export markets, continue to charge tariffs on agricultural products exported from New Zealand. This makes them less competitive than domestic products in those markets.

New Zealand's sheep and beef sector exports incurred a total tariff cost of more than $300 million in 2014.

Non-tariff barriers take a variety of forms. They can unfairly discriminate against our sheep and beef exports and in some instances, prevent trade completely.

New Zealand's free trade agreements

B+LNZ provides detailed background information and analysis to the government to support bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral trade negotiations with other countries.

In recent years we have contributed to lowering and removing a range of tariffs on sheep and beef exports through New Zealand's free trade agreements with China, Asean, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and, most recently, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP will liberalise trade and investment between 12 Pacific-rim countries, including key markets Japan and the US.

We continue to contribute to ongoing negotiations with other important trading partners, such as the potentially hugely significant market of India. See the panel on the right for more information on New Zealand's completed free trade agreements and ongoing negotiations.

Free trade agreements also include obligations to ensure regulations in our export markets don't unfairly discriminate against New Zealand products, and mechanisms to address any non-tariff barriers to trade that may arise. This is increasingly important as tariffs are removed.

New Zealand's meat export quotas

Previous trade negotiations have resulted in New Zealand securing country-specific tariff quota access for some meat products. This gives New Zealand exporters access to specified markets for fixed quantities of certain products:

  • European Union – sheepmeat, goatmeat and high quality beef
  • United States – beef and veal
  • Canada – beef and veal

The European Union and United States quotas are administered by the
New Zealand Meat Board

Access contact details for New Zealand's trade policy team.
Free Trade Agreements

   In force:

   Concluded but not in force:

   Under negotiation: