New Zealand and the European Union (EU) have signed a ground-breaking Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that will provide “significant new trade access” to the country’s fourth-largest trading partner, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Monday.
The FTA will increase New Zealand’s exports to the EU by up to NZ$1.8 billion per year by 2035, Xinhua news agency quoted Hipkins as saying.
Tariff savings on New Zealand exports are NZ$100 million from day one of the agreement entering into force, the highest immediate tariff saving delivered by any New Zealand FTA, he said, adding that is around three times the immediate savings from the FTA between New Zealand and Britain.
This will add billions every year to New Zealand’s GDP, the Prime Minister noted.
Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor said the NZ-EU FTA will cut costs and support exporters to grow and diversify their trade.
It will provide new opportunities for New Zealand exporters of products such as kiwifruit, seafood, onions, honey, wine, butter, cheese, beef and sheep meat, O’Connor said, adding this new access will help to accelerate New Zealand’s post-Covid and post-Cyclone Gabrielle recovery.
Based on current trade figures, New Zealand will have the opportunity through combined FTA and World Trade Organization quotas to provide up to 60 per cent of the EU’s butter imports, up from 14 per cent currently, the Minister said.
New Zealand cheeses could also make up 15 per cent of the EU’s imported cheeses, up from 0.5 per cent currently, he said.
The NZ-EU FTA includes ambitious sustainable trade outcomes in a range of areas, including climate change, labour rights, women’s economic empowerment, environmentally harmful fisheries and fossil fuel subsidies, O’Connor said.
It is anticipated that the NZ-EU FTA will enter into force in the first half of 2024, once both parties complete the final required legal steps.