New Zealand sheepmeat and beef exports jumped six per cent to $9.1 billion in 2019, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).
The growth was largely a result of the growth in overall exports to China, which increased by 57 per cent to reach $3.7 billion. Sheepmeat exports to China grew by 40 per cent to $1.6 billion for the year, and beef exports by 113 per cent to $1.7 billion.
Meanwhile, the total value of exports to Japan increased by four per cent to $367 million for the year. This was mainly a result of an 11 per cent increase in the value of beef exports to Japan during the year, which grew to $183 million in 2019.
There was also an increase in exports of beef offals to Japan, which grew by 37 per cent to reach $48 million for the year.
New Zealand meat exporters have benefited significantly from tariff reductions into Japan following the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership agreement coming into force at the beginning of the year. There have been total tariff savings of nearly $25 million on beef and offal exports to Japan over the year.
While Australia is a major meat exporter, it is also an important market for the New Zealand red meat sector, including for a number of co-products.
Australia was the meat industry’s 10th largest market in 2019 with exports of $170 million, up five per cent from 2018. The major exports to Australia in 2019 were prepared meat products ($80 million), blood products ($30 million) and hides and skins ($22 million).
Tim Ritchie, chief executive of the Meat Industry Association, says the latest figures reinforce the importance of the sector to the New Zealand economy.
“The meat processing industry is New Zealand’s largest manufacturing sector and employs approximately 25,000 people, many from regional and rural communities. That’s why we need to ensure any policy reforms, whether that be climate change, forestry or freshwater, need to be carefully thought through so as to avoid any negative unintended consequences.”
The outbreak and spread of the Coronavirus has disrupted the supply chain for red meat in China and the sector continues to assess the impact of the situation, says Mr Ritchie.
“Despite the issue in China, the underlying global demand for protein remains strong.”