the free trade agreement between the EU and New Zealand worries French producers

The country will only be able to export powdered milk, but farmers fear unfair competition.

The EU on Monday gave the final green light to a free trade deal with New Zealand, which is expected to boost trade. The agreement will come into force “probably in early 2024”, once it is ratified by Wellington.

Provides for a virtual elimination of customs duties on kiwifruit, onions, apples, fish, wine, honey New Zealandas well as limited quantities of cheese, milk and sheep and beef.

The prejudice: New Zealand milk on supermarket shelves? – 11/22

Enough to cause concern among environmental organizations and European farmers.

French producers of milk are particularly concerned about competition from New Zealand, the country is, in fact, the world’s largest milk producer, while at the same time they are barely balancing their finances.

“We will never be able to compete with them in terms of production costs”, worries Martin Babé, a dairy producer, interviewed by BFMTV.

A quota of 15,000 tons per year

However, New Zealand will only be able to export milk powder (with a quota of 15,000 tonnes per year), but this product will be cheaper and will be able to compete strongly with European and therefore French producers.

This milk powder can be used, in particular, for the manufacture of numerous dairy products or other food products. On the other hand, it is impossible to see New Zealand milk packaging in our stores that has traveled 20,000 kilometers.

French breeders and producers are also alarmed by the arrival of dairy products “without an obligation to comply with European production standards”, citing the use of herbicides or pesticides banned in the EU but still used freely, they say, in New Zealand.

For Ghislain de Viron, vice-president of the national federation of milk producers, “the quantity on the market is enormous and the production conditions are not the same. In this type of agreement, there are usually mirror clauses, but no one can enforce them”, he explains on BFMTV.

Opportunities

The manager therefore requires that products using New Zealand milk powder clearly indicate this through accurate labelling. “It is the consumer who must demand correct information”, he emphasizes.

This agreement could, however, create opportunities for European producers. “There are quotas and there is an incentive mechanism. The idea is to be able to export more than we import”, emphasizes Pascal de Lima, economist, on BFMTV.

In effect, customs duties will be eliminated on all European exports to New Zealand, whether industrial products (cars and motor vehicle parts, machinery and household appliances, pharmaceutical products, etc.) or food products (pork, wine and sparkling wine , chocolate, confectionery). and cookies, etc.).

Olivier Chicheportiche with AFP

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