7 July 2020    New Zealand’s red meat sector exported $884 million of sheepmeat, beef and co-products in May 2020, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

Total red exports were slightly down (-2%) compared to the same period last year.

A drop in exports to the United States ( -15%), UK ( -10%) and Japan (-9%) was largely offset by continued strong growth into China (+23%), and increases in exports to Canada (+31%), Australia (+24%) and Taiwan (+13%).

The growth in Canada was largely due to a significant increase in beef exports, which were up 160% to $17m, compared to May last year.

MIA Chief Executive Sirma Karapeeva said the trade data underlined the red meat sector’s resilience and agility in the face of volatility in global markets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Processing and exporting companies have been able to divert product from markets that are under pressure to more favourable ones.

“The growth into Canada is particularly encouraging and this demonstrates the importance of trade liberalisation. Canada is an important complementary market to the United States for beef and a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

“While most beef exports to Canada are tariff-free, prior to the signing of the CPTPP, Canada did apply a quota limit on the amount of New Zealand beef that could be imported tariff-free. Any beef exports outside of this quota would incur high tariffs.

“As part of the CPTPP, this out-of-quota tariff rate is being reduced to 0% over a period of six years, allowing New Zealand beef exports to fully respond to changes in market demand.

“The meat processing and exporting sector and sheep and beef farmers collectively generate $12 billion in income per year for the country and account for more than 92,000 jobs, almost 5 percent of New Zealand’s full-time workforce.

“As New Zealand’s second largest goods export sector and largest manufacturing employer, we are playing a key role in New Zealand’s recovery from COVID-19. We’re relying on New Zealand having the right policy settings and infrastructure to ensure our continued success.”