EU and New Zealand reach free trade agreement in ‘geopolitical signal’

  • EU and New Zealand end four years of talks
  • The EU should benefit from exports of manufactured goods
  • New Zealand gets bigger beef and milk quotas

BRUSSELS, June 30 (Reuters) – The European Union and New Zealand on Thursday completed talks on a free trade deal that could increase the flow of goods and services by 30% and highlights the will of Europe to conclude alliances to compensate for its commercial withdrawal from Russia. .

EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said the deal sent an important “geopolitical signal” and stressed that the European Union would seek new partnerships.

“It is clear that we need to diversify outside of Russia … (and) look for new markets, new supply chains, etc., and that is exactly what this agreement also helps,” Dombrovskis told reporters. journalists.

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A majority of EU members urged the Commission, which oversees trade policy, to speed up trade deals to prevent others from taking its place. Read more

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it had been 14 years since the idea of ​​a trade deal was first floated.

Negotiations began in mid-2018 and, for the EU, the deal will put the bloc’s trade with New Zealand on an equal footing with countries that already have a trade pact with New Zealand, notably those of the Asia-Pacific CPTPP agreement with 11 countries.

It will also see it partially catch up with former EU member Britain, which has signed trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, although they have yet to come into force.

The deal will remove tariffs on a wide range of products and will be the first by the EU to include potential penalties for breaches of environmental or labor standards, a concept it has only proposed last week. Read more

Tariffs will drop for EU exports such as clothing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and cars, as well as wine and confectionery. The EU will increase its New Zealand beef quota by 10,000 tonnes, a sensitive area for France in particular, as well as the volumes of lamb, butter and cheese.

“It’s probably fair to say nobody likes it, so we must be right,” New Zealand Trade Minister Damien O’Connor said half-jokingly when asked about the compromises made during difficult final negotiations.

The deal could enter into force in 18 to 24 months, subject to approval by the European Parliament and EU governments, a process that has sometimes dragged on for years.

Bernd Lange, chairman of the House Trade Committee which will review the deal, called it a good day for trade, with a deal that was one of the most progressive on labor rights and the environment.

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Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Marine Strauss, Mark Heinrich and Alison Williams

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