New Zealand Dairy Board chairman Graham Fraser is inviting European dairy farmers to see NZDB as a potential partner rather than a rival. "Some people ­ on both sides ­ tended to see the relationship as an antagonistic one: the interests of European dairy farmers were seen as opposed to those of New Zealanders," he told the EUCOLAIT general assembly. "I am not sure that was ever quite true. It is certainly not now." The European dairy industry can expect to see changes, Fraser added: "The board is keen to develop and diversify our European presence considerably ­ in ways that may well surprise you." NZDB and its subsidiaries has been trading with European partners, including product for third countries. Fraser confirmed the board is actively investigating commercial opportunities with European partners, ranging from contractual relationships to joint ventures. The EU must decouple support measures form production, warned Fraser. "An industry that turns in on itself for fear of the outside would be bad for producers and consumers alike inside Europe ­ and would not help those of us outside Europe." New Zealand has sympathy for social and environmental aims. "But we find it difficult to understand why these legitimate objectives must be pursued through price support systems that restrict consumer choice and reduce dairy farmers' incomes around the globe." {{PROVISIONS }}