Brexit and what it means for New Zealand’s primary industries

The United Kingdom (UK) is scheduled leave the European Union (EU) on 31 October 2019. Find out what it may mean for New Zealand's primary industries.

The Brexit process

The UK is scheduled to exit the EU on 31 October 2019. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been clear that the UK will be leaving the EU on this date, with or without a deal. The UK is actively preparing for all possible exit scenarios, in particular the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, as this is the default outcome unless a deal is agreed between the EU and the UK in the interim.

Due to high levels of political uncertainty around Brexit, swift developments are possible which would alter the course of events. Primary product exporters who trade with the UK are advised to monitor the situation and ensure they have assessed how the various scenarios would affect them and develop contingency plans where appropriate.

What does it mean for primary industry exporters?

Uncertainty in markets presents difficulties for all exporters, however the primary sectors have specific issues to consider, particularly around:

  • seasonal production systems reducing the ability to avoid trading during periods of uncertainty
  • the perishability of products such as chilled meat, fruit and vegetables which means that any delays in goods reaching overseas markets can impact on product quality
  • impacts of how the UK and EU will split tariff quotas
  • regulatory system changes and what this means for any sanitary and phytosanitary requirements that products must meet to be traded.

What is MPI doing to prepare for Brexit?

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is closely monitoring Brexit developments and working to minimise disruption to New Zealand's primary sector exporters where possible.

While there remains a range of possible Brexit outcomes, a no-deal scenario would have an immediate impact on our primary industry exporters. MPI has focused on preparations for this eventuality as the other scenarios are not expected to significantly alter trading conditions in the short to medium term.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, to ensure regulatory continuity, MPI has clarified trading requirements and replicated existing EU sanitary and phytosanitary arrangements with the UK.

To this end, MPI has made agreements and arrangements with the UK on:

  • Sanitary Measures Applicable to Trade in Live Animals and Animal Products (the Veterinary Agreement)
  • Mutual Recognition in Relation to Conformity Assessment (the Mutual Recognition Agreement)
  • Continued recognition of New Zealand’s Official Organics Assurance Programme (OOAP)
  • Acceptance of New Zealand’s simplified fisheries catch certification to meet UK requirements on illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing;
  • Continued recognition for certificates of conformity for apples, pears and kiwifruit exported from New Zealand to the UK.

MPI is also working closely with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), the New Zealand Customs Service (Customs), and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) to ensure there is a coordinated approach to communicating to and engaging with, New Zealand exporters on Brexit.

Exporting to the UK and EU under a no-deal Brexit

If there is a no-deal Brexit, the EU Overseas Market Access Requirements will apply to New Zealand exports to the UK until further notice.

Check OMARs

Further information for specific sectors was released prior to 29 March 2019. This advice will be updated and resent if a no-deal remains a possibility in early October.

These initial sector specific updates are provided below for reference (note that a password is required to view the animal products updates.

Find out how to get a password

Implications of a no-deal Brexit on tariff rate quotas

A number of New Zealand exports to the EU enter the EU market through WTO tariff rate quotas (TRQs). This includes New Zealand’s main dairy and meat exports to the EU, which enter through country-specific TRQs.

The EU and the UK have indicated that if a no-deal Brexit occurs, they intend to unilaterally split the EU’s TRQs so that the current TRQ volumes are shared between the EU and the UK.

New Zealand and other countries that trade into EU TRQs have made it clear this approach is unacceptable as it would reduce exporters’ current access by removing their flexibility to respond to changes in market demand between the UK and EU27 markets.

The New Zealand Government is working to protect our current market access under the EU’s TRQs. Officials are engaging with decision makers in the EU and the UK to highlight the importance of reaching an outcome that leaves New Zealand no worse off than before.

Access to country-specific tariff quotas in the EU (including the UK) is managed by:

Find out more

Brexit extra guidance - FAQs

Get help exporting

The MPI Exporter Regulatory Advice Service (ERAS) supports New Zealand primary industry exporters by making it easier to understand exporting requirements and can assist with any Brexit-related export enquiries.

Exporter Regulatory Advice Service (ERAS)

Further advice

Additional Government updates on Brexit and how it could affect New Zealand are also available on the following websites:

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