Goff Presses for Reduction in Tariffs on Dairy Exports to Egypt

  • Phil Goff

Reductions of tariffs on dairy exports to Egypt were top of the agenda for trade talks between Egyptian Trade and Industry Minister, Rachid Rachid, and New Zealand Trade Minister Phil Goff in Cairo yesterday.

“While tariff levels on New Zealand’s $137 million export trade to Egypt are quite low, further reductions are necessary to protect New Zealand’s competitive position in the Egyptian market,” Mr Goff said.

“Egypt has concluded an Association Agreement with the European Union (EU), which substantially removes tariffs on European agriculture exports over the next two years.

“This creates a competitive disadvantage for New Zealand dairy products, which make up 83 %of our export trade.

“We are keen to see Egypt address this matter to enable continued parity and consumer choice between the imports sourced from the EU and New Zealand.

“Trade Minister Rachid accepted our arguments that this was a desirable outcome and has promised to come back to us soon with proposals to address the issue,” Mr Goff said.

“The establishment of our new Embassy in Cairo in October, which Prime Minister Helen Clark will officially open in April 2007, creates a platform for strengthening our relationship with Egypt and the opportunity to better promote our position on issues such as this.

“The nee embassy gives New Zealand better profile in Egypt and better communication between our two countries.

“I also urged foreign minister Aboul Gheit to consider reciprocity by opening an Egyptian embassy in Wellington.

“I stressed the advantages to Egypt as a preeminent Arab and Islamic country, of having its voice heard directly in New Zealand.

“Meeting with Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit and Defence Minister, Field Marshall Tantawi, was a valuable opportunity to discuss key issues in the region, including the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Lebanon, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan,” Mr Goff said.