WELLINGTON, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government is "leaving no stone unturned" to protect New Zealand's quota access into the EU and Britain post-Brexit, Minister of Trade and Export Growth David Parker said on Friday.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern raised the issue with British Prime Minister Theresa May and EU leaders during her meetings in London and Brussels last week.
Other ministers and officials have raised this matter at every opportunity with EU and British leaders since the issue first emerged in late 2017, Parker said in a statement, adding it will also be discussed with EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan when he visits New Zealand soon.
"We are working hard to hold them to the assurances they have given us that New Zealand will not be left worse off as a result of Brexit," Parker said.
Tariff rate quotas (TRQs) set the amount of New Zealand goods, such as sheep meat and butter, that can be exported into the EU at a lower tariff. At issue is how the EU and Britain will set the TRQs when Britain splits from the EU, he said.
Speculation about the proposals the EU and Britain were developing to split TRQs in a way that would reduce access for countries including New Zealand first arose in late 2017.
New Zealand with six other concerned WTO members wrote formally to the EU and Britain in September 2017, outlining the reasons why this approach was unacceptable, according to the minister.
"We have and will continue to fight this proposal and encourage the EU and the UK to re-think their approach. It's important we find a mutually acceptable solution that will not leave our exporters disadvantaged," Parker said.
Last July New Zealand lodged a formal objection to these proposals as part of the EU consultation process, as it formulated the regulation passed last week by the EU Parliament. In October, along with a large number of other WTO members, New Zealand lodged a claim of interest at the WTO in Geneva to defend its existing quota access.