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NZ-EU Free Trade Agreement signed

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The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed with the European Union opens up a market previously obstructed by tariffs on products exported from New Zealand. While government expects the agreement to increase NZ export to the EU by $1.8bn per year by 2035, the deal falls short of the high-quality agreement New Zealand signed with the UK, Business Central says.

The winning sectors of the day include horticulture, seafood, wine, and honey which will see tariffs removed. NZ’s two largest goods export sectors, red meat and dairy, however would have been hoping for more commercially meaningful outcomes for their exports – tariffs on these products remain, though quota access will increase.

The FTA also contains a Māori Trade and Economic Cooperation chapter that will create a platform for greater engagement with the EU on Māori economic and trade interests.

Simon Arcus, Chief Executive of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce said: “Though this agreement does not secure the same degree of free trade that Kiwi businesses can now enjoy with the UK, it does significantly expand our capacity for tariff free trade with one of the largest single markets on the planet: the European Union. This deal will be welcomed by exporters as a result”.

Aaron Mcleigh, Export NZ’s lead for the Greater Wellington Region, added: “This deal presents really exciting opportunities and, in particular, will enable our services exporters to compete in the EU on a more level playing field.”

The deal will now go through the House and through the Foreign Affairs, Trade & Defence Select Committee. With only a few sitting days left, it’s unlikely this process will get underway before the election. The deal must also be approved by the European Parliament, though this is typically a formality. We expect the deal to come into force by this time next year.

For more information, please contact Ed Gibbs, Policy & Corporate Affairs Manager ( / 027 280 3622).

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