WTO rules aainst USA CoOL on meat

20/05/2015

The World Trade Organisation has ruled that labels on red meat in the United States that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered will have to be dropped or revised.

The office of the U.S. Trade Representative said the WTO has rejected a final U.S. appeal, deciding that the U.S. “country of origin” labels put Canadian and Mexican livestock at a disadvantage.

The Obama administration had previously revised labels to try to comply with WTO obligations. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said that if the WTO ruled against the final U.S. appeal, Congress will have to weigh in to avoid retaliation – such as extra tariffs – from the two neighbour countries. . .

Though the ruling went against the U.S., it’s a victory for the U.S. meat industry, which has said the labels are burdensome. Meat processors quickly called for repeal of the labelling laws after the WTO decision.

Canada and Mexico issued a joint statement calling on the United States to repeal the labelling rules and saying they will seek authorization from the WTO to take retaliatory measures against U.S. exports.

The joint statement of Canadian and Mexican agriculture and trade officials said the rules cause Canadian and Mexican livestock and meat to be segregated from those of U.S. origin. The labeling is “damaging to North America’s supply chain and is harmful to producers and processors in all three countries,” the officials said. . .

I don’t support compulsory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) but I don’t understand why labels which give consumers information on which they might want to base their purchases has been disallowed.


Rural round-up

15/05/2014

NZ renews efforts to restore beef, farm commodity volumes in Indonesia with WTO complaint – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand has made its second complaint in as many years to the World Trade Organisation about import restrictions and red tape in Indonesia that led to an 80 percent slump in exports of beef and horticultural products.

New Zealand and the US originally teamed up to initiate legal proceedings against Indonesia via the WTO in August last year. That complaint didn’t proceed beyond the consultation stage because Indonesia subsequently changed some of its measures, which under WTO rules meant a new application had to be made.

In the new complaint, lodged on May 8, New Zealand and the US cite Indonesia’s “unjustified and trade-restrictive” licensing requirements on imports, “unreasonable and discriminatory” pre-shipment rules and insufficient published details of how the restrictions work. . .

New rules ‘threat to young farmers‘ – Neil Ratley:

The new dairy farm plan change could force families who have farmed sheep and beef for generations off their land, a Southland Federated Farmers boss says.

Plan Change 13, which came into force in March, requires all new dairy farms to obtain resource consent from Environment Southland before becoming operational.

Since being introduced, more farmers than previously had applied to convert their farms to dairy and none had been turned down, Environment Southland says.

Despite this, Federated Farmers Southland president Russell MacPherson again voiced his concerns about Plan Change 13 at the organisation’s annual general meeting last week.

He said it would be harder for family farms to stay in the family under Plan Change 13. . .

$15,000 fine for quad bike breach:

A Marlborough farmer has been fined $15,000 for carrying a child on a work quad bike in what is believed to be the first prosecution of its kind.

Herd manager Rangi Holmes was on Wednesday sentenced at the Nelson District Court on two charges under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, which prohibits the carrying of passengers on quad bikes used for work, and requires quad bike riders to wear helmets.

WorkSafe New Zealand inspectors said they saw Holmes riding a quad bike in the Rai Valley carrying his two-year-old child in front of him on the bike at least five times during a 20-month period from February 2012. Neither was wearing a helmet. . .

How should dairy farmers react to sensitive issues? – Pasture to Profit:

 The public all have strong opinions about on-farm issues of Animal Welfare, Water Quality and TB. Individual Dairy farmers and Rural Professionals need to take a Public Relations leadership position.

Social Media provide powerful tools to take a lead position. We need to make the running and not be forced to play catch-up on sensitive social issues. Defending the indefensible is not very smart. How should farmers respond to Ugly public stories in the media?

I don’t think angry rejection is the right response to these stories in the press. Letters of denial usually imply a cover up. Best to agree with the outrage, then state very firmly that these incidents are totally unacceptable. We must engage with those who are upset and seek a joint understanding and find community agreed solutions.  . .

Food and Beverage reports released:

Three Food and Beverage reports were released on 8 May and showcase the key factors driving New Zealand’s food exporting success: high-quality ingredients, disease-free status, comprehensive network of free trade agreements, world-leading business environment, and strong food science capability.

The 2014 edition of the Investors’ Guide to the New Zealand Food and Beverage Industry shows that New Zealand’s food and beverage industry is well positioned for substantial growth, with exports on track to double in value in the next 15 years to US$40 billion.

The Food and Beverage Overview Report complements the Investors Guide with profiles of the top 50 food and beverage companies operating in New Zealand. Collectively these generate revenues of $42 billion. . . .

The Red Meat Profit Partnership gets down to business:

The Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) has reached its first milestone of being fully established as a limited partnership and has appointed a board of directors.

The RMPP is a red meat sector and government collaboration designed to boost sheep and beef farmer productivity and profitability. It draws together nine industry partners who are co-funding the programme along with the Ministry for Primary Industries through its Primary Growth Partnership (PGP). They include Alliance Group, ANZCO Foods, ANZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (representing sheep and beef farmers), Blue Sky Meats, Greenlea Premier Meats, Progressive Meats, Rabobank and Silver Fern Farms. . .

New way to cut out timber fumigation:

New techniques spearheaded by the Ministry for Primary Industries have led to some timber exports heading to Australia without first having to be fumigated with the ozone-depleting gas methyl bromide.

Australia wants to keep the burnt pine longhorn beetle that’s found in New Zealand, out of its country and until recently all sawn timber had to be fumigated during the summer flight season of the beetle.

Ministry director of plants, food and environment Peter Thomson says a successful trial has shown the Australians that other methods can be applied to keep the beetle out.

“With this alternative, timber exporters or wood product exporters are able to keep their product in a secure area that will exclude those beetles.

“And as long as they process their product and pack it into containers in a way that excludes the beetle from being able to get in there during the process then they’re free to ship under this new system,” said Mr Thomson. . .


Subsidies bad for environment

08/12/2013

New Zealand is calling for action on fisheries subsidies.

Trade Minister Tim Groser has led a call at the WTO’s 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali for urgent action to protect global fish stocks. New Zealand has been coordinating a group of countries that includes Argentina, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Iceland, Norway, Pakistan, Peru and the United States.

The purpose of the meeting, which included a wider range of Government representatives, international media and international environmental NGOs, was to issue a joint statement drawing political attention to how subsidies contribute to the destruction of wild fisheries and to reiterate the group’s commitment to negotiate ambitious and effective disciplines on fisheries subsidies.

In presenting the statement today on behalf of the group, Mr Groser emphasized that that over 85% of the world’s fish stocks were fully exploited, over exploited, depleted or in recovery.

“The depletion of the world’s fish stocks is the clearest example today of what is called ‘the tragedy of the global commons’. Obviously, no country individually seeks the destruction of the wild fisheries of the world, but this is exactly the danger facing certain critical fish stocks in parts of the world unless there is more effective international cooperation to deal with the problem.

“We need action on a variety of fronts, but reduction of harmful subsidies which contribute to over-fishing is a central part of any solution,” Mr Groser said.

“This is a trade issue – fish products are one of the most highly traded commodities in world trade, and subsidies contribute to distorting this trade – but it is about far more than just trade. This is a pressing issue for the entire international community due to its environmental, economic and development consequences.”

“As a development issue, it is of particular importance to developing countries in the Pacific – the source of about half the global wild catch. Fish is part of these countries’ food security. Beyond that, it is also one of their great economic assets, offering Pacific countries significant economic development opportunities.”

The scale of subsidization is huge – around US $25-30 billion per annum.

“The countries which have signed this statement represent a diverse group of developing and developed countries. We have come together to reaffirm the pledge we made within the UN Rio+20 conference in 2012 to not introduce or increase harmful fisheries subsidies, and we will work within the WTO and other fora to improve fisheries subsidies reform and transparency.”

It’s not hard to explain the economic perils of subsidies.

This illustrates the environmental harm they can do too.


Rural round-up

18/01/2013

Groser welcomes new OECD-WTO report on international trade:

Trade Minister Tim Groser has welcomed the OECD-WTO’s estimates of “Trade in Value-Added” at the launch of the new database in Paris.

“This new data estimates trade in value-added terms, which helps convey the interdependencies of global value chains and reveal who ultimately benefits from trade,” Mr Groser says.

“Engaging internationally is crucial to all countries’ future prosperity. New Zealand is especially well connected to global value chains in the agriculture and food sectors.”

According to OECD estimates, 81 percent of New Zealand exports’ value is created domestically. This is higher than the OECD average of 72 percent, reflecting both our geographic distance and the importance of agricultural products to our exports. . .

Fonterra trading scheme adds new dynamic for farms

The introduction of Fonterra’s Trading Among Farmers (TAF) share trading scheme has added a new dynamic to the market for dairy farms, and has potential to put downward pressure on farm values, Real Estate Institute of NZ rural market spokesman Brian Peacocke said.

The introduction TAF last November has been a spectacular success and probably far greater than Fonterra could ever have have anticipated, according to market participants.

The units, which do not carry voting rights and which can be owned by the public, last traded at $7.45 – a 35.5 per cent premium their $5.50 issue price. The success of the units has rubbed off on the value of Fonterra shares, which can only be traded by farmers. The shares last traded at $7.42 compared with a pre-TAF “fair value” share price – set by Fonterra – of $4.52. . .

Depression in rural communities a concern:

With a disproportionate number of suicides in the rural sector, Federated Farmers is calling for a proactive approach to solve the problem.

Hawke’s Bay farmer and the province’s Dairy Chairperson, David Hunt, has experienced depression first hand. He knows just how frightening and lonely it can be. Here is his story:

“A farmer suicide recently compelled me to come forward, as I have great respect for what John Kirwan has done for mental health and I wanted to share my experience to help farmers. What helped me accept my depression were the people opening up to me about theirs. There is no shame in it, depression is a hereditary illness that causes a chemical imbalance in your brain, there’s no choosing what illness you get,” he says. . .

Education will help quad bike safety – Jeanette Maxwell:

Quad bikes have been in the news following two deaths and several injuries over the Christmas and New Year period.

Most incomprehensible was the incident in which 6-year-old Ashlee Shorrock suffered serious injuries after being flung from a quad bike that veered off a Hawke’s Bay road late at night. What were she and the four adults also injured in the crash doing on the bike in the first place?

However, while it may not seem like it from the intense media coverage, quad bike deaths and serious injuries remain relatively rare despite the 100,000 machines in New Zealand.

While quad bikes are dangerous if mishandled and the farm toll is serious and must come down, we fear that politicians will respond to the media coverage by jumping at ”solutions’ . . .

Chance to win a free paddock and boost productivity:

Federated Farmers hopes all farmers will enter the Pasture Renewal Charitable Trust’s (PRCT) ‘Win a Free Paddock’ competition which begins on 20 January and runs through to 28 February.

All farmers are eligible to enter for three chances to win $8000 worth of products and technical advice used in the pasture renewal process.

“Federated Farmers is proud to support PRCT’s work in this area because pasture renewal is a core farming activity improve pasture quality, which in turn brings greater productivity, increased returns, improved animal health and more farm management options,” Federated Farmers board member and New Zealand Grassland Association executive member Anders Crofoot says. . .

Seafood New Zealand Chief Executive announced:

The chair of Seafood New Zealand, Eric Barratt, today announced that Tim Pankhurst has been appointed chief executive of Seafood New Zealand effective from April 2013.

Mr Pankhurst is currently the general manager of the Communications and Media Industry Training Organisation (CMITO) and Print NZ, as well as having an advisory editorial role with the Newspaper Publishers’ Association (NPA). He was previously chief executive of NPA and is a former daily newspaper editor of The Dominion Post, The Evening Post, Waikato Times and The Press. . .

Husqvarna joins the Sponsor Family of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest:

New Zealand Young Farmers are proud to announce Husqvarna NZ have partnered with the ANZ Young Farmer Contest as prize sponsors of New Zealand’s Ultimate Rural Challenge.

Husqvarna is a leading manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, designed to work in the toughest of conditions. One of the oldest industrial companies in the world with more than 300 years of history and experience, the Husqvarna Group today is the global leader in outdoor power products for forestry, lawn and garden care. . .


Groser nominated for WTO DG

22/12/2012

The government has nominated Trade Minister Tim Groser for Director General of the World Trade Organisation.

His experience and achievements before he entered parliament and in the last four years as Trade Minister more than qualify him for the position.

However, the DG is chosen by consensus by WTO members and politics may well carry more weight than ability and suitability.

If memory serves me correctly former PM Mike Moore held the position for half a term, with another nominee serving the other half because members couldn’t choose between them.

 


Govt to Govt to get NZ apples in to Australia

15/04/2010

Orchardists have been cautious about celebrating the news that the World Trade Organisation ruled in New Zealand’s favour in the dispute over access to Australia for our apples.

The caution is because Australia could appeal the ruling.

However Trans Tasman reports that a government to government initiative might ensure the ruling is upheld.

The Trans Tasman Political Letter says NZ is looking for a way to
settle the apple export row at Government level, after NZ’s WTO
victory. It notes NZ may have won its case in the WTO court
against Australia’s barriers on the sale of NZ apples in the
Australian market, but no-one on this side of the Tasman believes
the battle has been finally won.  

As Trans-Tasman reported earlier this week, The WTO panel has
comprehensively rejected the Aust argument, and its use of
quarantine regulation as a de facto trade barrier. Clearly the
issue should now be settled at the political level, and both
Govts may have thought it a good idea to keep the WTO report
under wraps until after the Federal election.  

Trans Tasman says each Govt received the interim report at the
end of last month, and Canberra could be wary of unleashing the
fury of Aust. Apple growers in the run-up to the election.
However with a Labor Govt in power, the influence of the apple
growers mainly in seats held by Liberal or National MPs may be
less dominant. Theoretically,the Rudd Govt should be swayed more
by the interests of consumers. The NZ Govt has been looking at
how to negotiate a settlement, based on the WTO’s panel interim
ruling.  

TransTasman says Trade Minister Tim Groser is expected to explore
what shape a fair and final resolution could take when he talks
with his counterpart Simon Crean on the sidelines of the Cairns
Group meeting in Punta del Este early next week.  

However Trans Tasman adds NZ knows from past experience, even
when the science has been overwhelmingly conclusive, the Aust
bureaucracy has always found a way to frustrate an outcome in
NZ’s favour. With the full weight of the WTO swinging behind NZ,
Aust will risk making itself a laughing stock preaching free
trade out of one corner of its mouth while it practises
protectionism out of the other.

The observation that the Rudd government may be swayed by the interests of consumers reinforces that the ban on New Zealand apples doesn’t just handicap our apple producers, it adds to the costs and limits choice for Australian consumers.

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean had earlier welcomed the WTO decision.

“This is a great day for Central Otago growers who have pinned their hopes on gaining access to markets across the Tasman.

“It has been a complicated and sometimes frustrating journey to get to this point, but now that we’re here I know that apple growers will be relieved and delighted.

“I see this decision as a vindication for Central Otago growers who have argued long and hard that the Australian ban should be lifted.

“It will be a major shot in the arm for Central apple growers, giving the industry new hope, and new markets for the future.

“Access to Australia could be worth millions to apple growers in this country and has the potential to turn the industry around.”

The Australian market could take up to 5 percent of the national crop and be worth $20 million a year.

Not everyone is so positive, (Hat Tip Andrei at NZ Conservative) Ozy Mandias wants to send Aussies our rotten apples:

Deep down my real concern is that it won’t take them long to claim our apples as there own. As New Zealanders we are constantly being ripped off by our neighbours as year after year they take our best and claim it for themselves. From racehorses to food to bands  to celebrities they have raped and pillaged the best of our little country and the next thing on their list will be our apples. . .  

My other concern is that soon we will have nothing left in New Zealand at all. . . They say that Auckland is the capital city of Samoa. Within a few years Sydney will be the capital city of New Zealand and Wellington the capital of nothing more than a strong breeze. I hadn’t been too worried about this trend, clinging to the words of former PM Muldoon that “when a New Zealander leaves for Australia they improve the IQ of both nations”. However, I never envisaged that they would move from importing people to importing our most valuable asset, apples. I wonder if Muldoon’s quote still holds true with apples??



USA backs out of FTA

08/03/2009

Remember the excitement which greeted the announcement that the USA was going to enter mulitlateral free trade negotiations with New Zealand?

Well, take the champagne out of the chiller, because TVNZ reports they’re back tracking .

The Obama administration has sought to indefinitely delay the so-called Trans Pacific Partnership talks due to get underway in Singapore later this month.

They were expected to strike a trade deal between the US, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei.

The postponement is to give time for the US to select a new trade representative.

This is a serious blow not just to New Zealand’s hope for improved access to US markets but to all who’re working towards global free trade.

As Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson said when reacting to the anouncement the USA was going to join the Trans pacific Partnership:

“Moves to negotiate multilateral agreements with likeminded countries by the United States, sends a clear signal to the WTO to get Doha back on track. 

The indefinite delay shouldn’t derail the Doha negotiations but it could result in much slower progress.

UPDATE: goNZofreakpower asks if this means we can can  section 92A?


Feds’ wish list pt 4

04/11/2008

Federated Farmers’  election wish-list moves on to property rights from page 31:

* The maintenance of private property rights to be recognised in legislation.

 

* An amendment to the Resource Management Act requiring full market compensation for landowners if land use is restricted under the RMA.

 

* Enactment of a Regulatory Responsibility Act, requiring market compensation be payable where private property rights are taken or extinguished.

 

Private property rights are one of the foundation stones of democracy. If the greater good impinges on those rights then compensation must be paid.

Feds then moves on to security: 

* Recognition of the specific security issues and needs faced by rural communities by way of a Rural Police Strategy.

 

Then the need for improved rural-urban relations:

 * The establishment of an interdepartmental rural task force with Federated Farmers and other related groups, to develop practical solutions to build closer relations between town and country.

 * Financial support for Federated Farmers initiatives to improve urban and rural relations.

 

The rural-urban divide is widening but given the deficits we’re facing I don’t think supporting Feds in these initiatives is a priority for public funding.

Sustainability comes next and Feds wants: 

* A collaborative approach with the Federation to define economic and environmental considerations for New Zealand.

 

* Scientifically verified metrics for sustainability.

 

* The international effect of policies to support sustainability is assessed before adoption.

 

* The economic viability of farming given equal weighting to environmental factors in policy setting.

 

When people say sustainable it often just means environmental and forgets the economic and social legs of the sustainability. 

 

Feds then moves onto telecommunciations and wants:

 

* Funding the roll-out improved telecommunications services and broadband for all by way of fixed wire, satellite or wireless means.

 

Yes please.

 

Then trade:

 

* Conclusion of a comprehensive WTO Doha round that includes liberalisation of agricultural trade. 

 

* Negotiation of comprehensive and WTO consistent bilateral and plurilateral free trade pacts, which include liberalisation of agricultural trade.

 

* Elimination of New Zealand’s remaining tariffs on imported goods.

 

* New Zealand Trade & Enterprise and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade specifically tasked to combat misinformation on issues such as ‘food miles’ in overseas markets.

 

Growing food and fibre is just the start, we have to sell what we produce and the only fair trade is free trade.

 

Then transport:

 

 * Efficiency to be the primary determinant for transport funding decisions.

 

* Roading costs to be allocated so road charges are efficient and equitable by way of targeting actual commercial road users.

 

* The Land Transport Management Amendment Act 2008 be amended to repeal provisions for regional fuel taxes.

 

* A significant reduction in the reliance of local authority rates to fund the maintenance of local roads by greater access to hypothecated funds.

 

* The Land Transport Management Amendment Act 2008 be further amended to prevent cross subsidisation of other modes from hypothecated funds.

 

Main roads in the southern South Island are generally pretty good but the cost of maintaining local roads is already getting to great for rate payers.


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