New Zealand's seafood industry is set to receive a significant boost with the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union on 9th July. The agreement, signed a year after the conclusion of negotiations in June 2022, is expected to eliminate most export tariffs, enhance market access, and reduce compliance requirements, fostering a more efficient flow of goods between New Zealand and the EU.
The FTA negotiations, which commenced in June 2018, underwent 12 rounds of discussions until March 2022, followed by intersessional talks that culminated on 30th June 2022, with the announcement of the deal by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and New Zealand's then-Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Scheduled to be enforced in Q1 2024, the FTA's final step requires ratification by both the EU and New Zealand. The agreement is poised to bring extensive opportunities for businesses, farmers, and consumers on both sides, as it promotes just and green growth while reinforcing economic security.
The European Commission regards the FTA as a demonstration of the EU's commitment to its Indo-Pacific strategy, as it opens doors for closer collaboration with New Zealand, described as a "key partner" by President von der Leyen.
"With unprecedented social and climate commitments, it drives just and green growth while reinforcing Europe's economic security," President von der Leyen stated.
The FTA is expected to significantly benefit New Zealand's seafood sector, given the EU's status as the world's largest seafood-buying market. The elimination of trade barriers and enhanced market access is anticipated to create new opportunities for New Zealand's seafood exporters, promoting economic growth and fostering stronger ties between the EU and New Zealand.