Free trade deals have saved multi millions of dollars, Beef + Lamb New Zealand says.
By its calculations, New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) delivered tariff savings of more than $160 million on sheep meat and beef exports last year.
Beef and Lamb chief executive Scott Champion said those savings would grow as tariffs continued to come down and exports grew.
“The good news, I guess, is how big some of the savings are compared to if those free trade agreements weren’t in place.”
Dr Champion said red meat was one of the most protected products in the world and, especially for beef, the amount of tariffs being paid was still significant.
“It’s about $161 million saved, compared to not having FTAs in place, but the total tariff bill is still about $326 million.
“We have a lot of discussion – often publicly – around whether we should be doing free trade agreements, or shouldn’t we, and what this data really suggests is that… free trade agreements deliver significant savings to sectors, and particularly primary industries.”
Protection limits choice and adds costs for consumers, distorts markets and reduces income for producers.
It can also facilitate corruption as those seeking market access or to limit access for others seek to influence those with the power to confer favours.
The only real beneficiaries from trade restrictions are politicians, bureaucrats and the protected businesses who gain at everyone else’s cost.