NZ secures historic free trade deal with European Union

Source: 1News

New Zealand has secured a major free trade deal with the European Union which could see a $1.8 billion increase in export revenue for Aotearoa each year.

NZ prime minister Jacinda Ardern and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Trade Minister Damien O'Connor announced the free trade agreement early this morning after completing negotiations for the deal in Europe.

The deal will see tariffs for wine, manuka honey, onions, apples, almost all seafood and other horticulture products eliminated – saving New Zealand exporters $110 millon every year.

There will be "new quota opportunities worth over $600 million annual export revenue for dairy and red meat sector" once the deal is fully implemented, Ardern and O'Connor said in a statement.

New Zealand service providers will be able to access the EU market on an equivalent basis to local and foreign service providers in a variety of sectors including education.

The EU is New Zealand's fourth-largest trading partner with two-way goods and services trade was worth NZ$17.5 billion for the year to December 2021.

"It's a strategically important and economically beneficial deal that comes at a crucial time in our export led Covid-19 recovery," Ardern said.

"The complete removal of duties on the majority of products New Zealand exports to the EU is a major achievement in a deal that covers market access into 27 European countries.

"This is fifth Free Trade Agreement the Government has concluded in the past five years and sits alongside upgrades to our existing agreements with Singapore and China. The increase in market access we've negotiated means 73.5% of our global exports are now covered by an FTA, up from only around 50% when we took office."

Opportunity for Māori 'immense'

Chairman of the National Māori Authority Matthew Tukaki said the opportunity for Māori is "immense".

"Europe presents an incredible opportunity with more than 450 million consumers in a way that Māori business and enterprise could only dream of."

He also said he was "absolutely pleased" to see a Māori trade and economic chapter included in the agreement, a "win" he described as "significant".

Red meat sector 'deeply disappointed'

Not everyone's happy with the deal.

New Zealand's red meat sector says it's "deeply disappointed" with the outcome and described the deal as "poor quality".

The Meat Industry Association (MIA) said only a small amount of Aotearoa's beef - 10,000 tonnes - is set to be exported into the EU.

MIA's chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said it's not enough for a market that consumes 6.5 million tonnes of beef annually. She said the deal falls short of the red meat sector's expectations.