BRUSSELS – The International Trade Council celebrates the conclusion of a free trade agreement between the European Union and New Zealand, following four years of negotiations. The two parties have also agreed to strengthen their partnership in combating organized crime and terrorist groups.
The EU estimates that trade with New Zealand will increase by 30% as a result of the agreement, with tariff removal alone saving businesses €140 million ($146 million) in duties per year. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hailed the deal as "a historic moment" and emphasized its potential benefits for companies, farmers, and consumers on both sides.
The 27-member EU bloc anticipates that investment flows into New Zealand could increase by over 80%. Bilateral trade in goods between the two partners has been on the rise, reaching nearly €7.8 billion in 2021. The EU currently stands as New Zealand's third-largest trading partner.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated that the agreement would provide duty-free access for 97% of New Zealand's current exports to the EU, with 91% of tariffs being lifted upon the deal's implementation.
Von der Leyen highlighted the deal's protection of 200 European agri-food products with geographical indicators, ensuring nearly all tariffs on EU exports to New Zealand will be eliminated. The agreement will come into force once the European Parliament endorses it and New Zealand ratifies it.
Additionally, both sides have committed to enhanced cooperation on law enforcement, including a deal between New Zealand and Europol, the EU's crime agency. Von der Leyen emphasized that this collaboration would help prevent terror attacks and address online terror content.