EU-New Zealand free trade deal gets green light in Trade Committee

The committee gave its consent to the free trade agreement by 27 votes, 2 votes against and 2 abstentions and recommends that Parliament's plenary should do the same. The deal will remove 100% of New Zealand tariffs on EU exports at entry into force and will lift 98.5 % of EU tariffs on New Zealand trade after seven years.

Under the deal, all EU geographical indications (GIs) are protected for wines and spirits as well as a list of 163 famous EU foodstuff GIs. The agreement also defends European producers of sensitive agriculture products, such as beef and several dairy products: for these sectors, the agreement will allow zero or lower tariff imports from New Zealand only in limited amounts.

The agreement is the EU's first to include enforceable commitments to the Paris Agreement and to core International Labour Organization (ILO) standards, with sanctions as a last resort in cases of breaches. MEPs state that the free trade agreement “sets a benchmark in the area of sustainable trade and should be considered a gold standard in current and future FTAs negotiations”.

Bilateral trade in goods between the EU and New Zealand reached €9.1 billion in 2022, with the EU being New Zealand's third-biggest trade partner. EU firms exported to New Zealand €6.3 billion of goods (in 2022) and €2.7 billion of services (in 2021). Trade between New Zealand and the EU is expected to increase by 36%, trade in goods could increase by 47%, whereas the services trade could increase by 14%, according to the European Commission. EU investment flows into New Zealand could increase by over 80%.

The accompanying draft report, setting out the Parliament's position, was adopted by 23 votes in favour, 3 against and 5 abstentions.

The main elements of the trade deal:

Removal of duties: The agreement will remove duties on all EU goods exports to New Zealand on day one. 91 % of New Zealand goods will enter the EU duty-free on day one, rising to 97% after seven years. Some New Zealand exports, such as kiwifruit, apples, onions, wine, fish, mussels and squid, will have immediate full EU tariff elimination. To protect some sensitive EU agricultural sectors, tariff rate quotas will apply to New Zealand products such as sheep meat, beef, butter, cheese and milk powder imports.

Services: The agreement includes service sector-specific regulatory provisions on delivery services, telecommunications, financial services, international maritime transport services, aviation services (such as ground handling services).

Continue reading

European Parliament