The EU and New Zealand announce a free trade agreement

The EU and New Zealand announce a free trade agreement


The European Union and New Zealand announced this Thursday the conclusion of a free trade agreement –after four years of negotiations– with which they hope to increase trade by 30% and strengthen the relationship between “reliable partners” in a context geopolitical that forces to diversify the sources of supply after the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.

“We must more actively seek partners at a global level, diversify supply chains, export markets and find reliable partners, which is why this agreement is so important”, considered the Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis , explaining the agreement.

The Latvian politician has recalled that the EU “can no longer trust Russia” because it is “a country that invades its neighbors and threatens us”, which forces the bloc to “reconsider” its trade strategy.

Brussels also sees this agreement as key to demonstrating that the trade agenda of the Twenty-seven is “dynamic” and not stagnant, despite the lack of progress in other agreements such as Mercosur, whose agreement was proclaimed several years ago but has not been finalized.

The agreement between the European Union and New Zealand is called to increase exchanges between the two regions by 30%, especially in agricultural matters but also in other key areas, and community experts expect European investments in the oceanic country to grow up to 80%. Duties paid by EU companies may also be reduced by around 140 million euros per year from the first year of application.

In agricultural matters, the EU welcomes the end of tariffs for most of its exports, including pork, chocolate and wines; In addition to highlighting that this pact ensures the protection of nearly 2,000 wines and spirits with a European designation of origin -such as Rioja– and nearly 200 Geographical Indications, especially cheeses such as Manchego.

The agreement has needed a “careful balance” to overcome the “complex negotiations” in areas such as agriculture or digital, the two parties have said, which however defend that they have taken into account all the “sensitivities” of the producers to both sides.

Thus, for example, exports with reduced or zero tariffs will only be possible for small quotas in the case of several products considered sensitive for the EU, such as dairy, beef and sheep or ethanol and sweet corn.

On the other hand, the New Zealand services market will be opened in key sectors such as financial services, telecommunications, shipping and delivery services and non-discriminatory treatment of EU investors in New Zealand and vice versa will be guaranteed.

It will improve EU companies’ access to New Zealand public contracts for concessions for goods, services and works. New Zealand’s public procurement market is worth around €60 billion a year.

Data flows, predictable and transparent rules for digital trade and a safe internet environment for consumers will be facilitated and small businesses will be helped to increase their exports through a specific chapter on small and medium-sized enterprises.

Another key highlighted by Brussels is that New Zealand has made a significant commitment to protect and enforce intellectual property rights, in line with EU standards.


The New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has traveled to Brussels to stage in an appearance together with the head of the Community Executive, Ursula von der Leyen, the conclusion of a “historic” agreement, although the legal texts still have to be finalized and be submitted to the parliaments of New Zealand and the Member States to finalize their ratification and signature.

“The EU is New Zealand’s third largest trading partner and with this agreement we should be able to increase the relationship between the two by 30 percent,” said Von der Leyen, for whom the result of the negotiations has led to an agreement ” solid and modern.

At a subsequent press conference, Dombrovskis and the New Zealand Trade Minister, Damien O’Connor, trusted that the trade pact can complete its processing quickly and highlighted that it is one of the “most ambitious” trade agreements in terms of sustainability, which “should facilitate” support.

Other community sources trusted that the legal texts may be finalized in the fall to begin the ratifications and the parties may sign the definitive agreement “next year.”

It is also the first time that the European Union has concluded a trade agreement with specific chapters on sustainable development, trade and gender equality and a specific provision on trade and the reform of fossil fuel subsidies. When it enters into force, it will also mean the liberalization of ecological goods and services.


As he has defended, it is the most ambitious trade agreement in terms of sustainability, since it has a chapter on the reduction of hydrocarbons and contemplates the application of sanctions for activities that go against the Paris climate agreements.

Von der Leyen has concluded that the pact is good for both parties and, going one step further, has stressed that it shows that world democracies are “united and strong”.

“The world needs clear signs that democracies deliver results, because the values ​​we represent are being challenged (…) so democracies must stand up and be united,” he said, after denouncing the global economic turmoil caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

For his part, Ardern has highlighted that the agreement with the EU marks a “milestone” for two “well-connected and related partners” and has linked it to the good cooperation with Europe in recent months in the face of the war in Ukraine in terms of sanctions and in denouncing Russian aggression and the consequences on food and energy prices.

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