Farm Ireland

Tuesday 22 May 2018

'Any trade deal with New Zealand must be fair and balanced'

MEP Sean Kelly. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
MEP Sean Kelly. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Any possible trade deal with New Zealand must be fair and balanced, MEP Sean Kelly has warned.

He said that while new trade deals must be looked at, in light of Mercosur and Brexit, he warned that now was not the right time for a trade deal with New Zealand and Australia.

"It's logical in the time of Trump's actions in the US, try to expand free trade  that is beneficial to us and them."

But, he said that the agricultural community is very concerned and those concerns must be taken on board.

"Tou cannot force something through if one sector does not see an advantage or worse sees it as a disadvantage."

Any deal he said should be very balanced and acceptable with "our good friends in the southern hemisphere", he said.

Kellly was speaking at a time when President Michael D. Higgins State is visiting Australia and New Zealand over the past number of weeks.

Earlier this year, the EU and New Zealand signed a partnership agreement but the Commission is now seeking a negotiating mandate from the European Parliament to broaden this.

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The stated aim is to ”boost the E.U. economy while protecting farmers and consumers”

Kelly said in Strasbourg that since New Zealand’s main exports are agriculture-related, nothing must be agreed that will weaken E.U. farmers.

The EU Parliament votes today on a resolution which is non-binding but must be taken on board by the Commission before going forward.

If and when a new agreement is reached, it will still need approval by the Parliament before it can come into effect.

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