In a bid to boost the prospects of the entire meat industry, the Meat New Zealand (MNZ) organisation is to join efforts with its Australian equivalent, Meat Livestock Australia (MLA).

Senior officials from both industry groups met in Wellington last week to discuss methods to enhance the sector's progress. John Acland, chairman of the MLA, pointed out that the industry needs to cooperate fully and exchange knowledge on R&D and farming methods, to avoid farming disaster such as the foot and mouth crisis in Europe.

Officials from the MNZ body added that by working together, the groups could also witness marketing benefits and reduce some of the costs involved through operating separately.

Together, the organisations hope that they will also be a stronger force against the US in the debate over the tariffs it places on imported lamb from Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand exports lamb to the US to the value of around NZ$175m a year, and while last year the World Trade Organisation upheld concerns that the tariffs are unfair, the US may well appeal or attempt to extend the measures.