Should the European Union import 38,000 tons of meat from New Zealand under an agreement, as the Mayor of Lyon claims?

Should the European Union import 38,000 tons of meat from New Zealand under an agreement, as the Mayor of Lyon claims?

Lyon Mayor Gregory Doucet, an environmental advocate, says that because of the free trade treaty, the European Union is obligated to import 38,000 tons of meat from New Zealand. This is a mistake.

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The European Union is not obliged to import 38 thousand tons of sheep meat from New Zealand.  (Jean-Baptiste Burnier/Max BP)

Will the European Union be forced to import 38 thousand tons of New Zealand meat because of A Free trade agreement ? This is confirmed by the mayor of Lyon, Gregory Doucet, an environmental defender. This is incorrect: the treaty is not binding, and has not yet entered into force.

No commitment

This free trade agreement New Zealand allows, without any restrictions, the export of 38,000 tons of sheep meat (sheep and lambs) within the European Union without any customs duties. This amount of meat can be imported for seven years after the agreement enters into force. But the text does not obligate the European Union at all to actually import this meat.

Moreover, this agreement has not yet entered into force: the text was signed in July 2023, and the European Parliament voted in favor in November, but New Zealand still has to complete the ratification procedures.

How much does New Zealand meat weigh in the EU and France?

The European Union already imports meat from New Zealand. In 2023, the European Union imported 4,500 tons of beef and 66,400 tons of sheep meat. In comparison, during the same period (2023), the 27 countries imported 520,000 tons of beef and sheep meat from all over the world.

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On the other hand, New Zealand did not export any pork or poultry meat to the EU.

And in France? In 2023, we imported 5,700 tons of beef or lamb from New Zealand. This represents a drop in the ocean compared to the French's annual consumption of beef and sheep. In 2022, the French are already eating more 1.6 million tons Beef and sheep.

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