Brussels (BLAZETRENDS).- The European Union (EU) and New Zealand signed a free trade agreement this Sunday with which they aspire to increase their commercial exchanges by 30% thanks to the elimination of export tariffs and the greater opening of their service markets.
“It is a very ambitious and very balanced free trade agreement. I think it provides a lot of opportunities for our respective companies,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference with New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins ahead of the signing in Brussels.
The agreement, concluded in 2022 after four years of negotiations, will remove all tariffs on exports from the EU to New Zealand, which consist mainly of manufactured goods, while the EU bloc will remove them for the vast majority of New Zealand exports, on all agricultural products.
Bilateral trade in goods between the two amounted to 9,100 million euros in 2022 and that of services to 3,500 million in 2021, while EU investments in New Zealand reached 9,300 million and those of this country in the Twenty-seven 4,300 million, according to the latest figures published by the Community Executive.
4,500 million in exports to the EU
Brussels hopes that with this agreement, EU exports to New Zealand can increase by up to 4,500 million euros a year, European investments will grow by 80%, and companies in the bloc will save 140 million euros a year, according to the vice president. of the Commission responsible for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis.
Once it is ratified by both parties and enters into force, the pact will also entail the opening of the New Zealand services market for European firms in sectors such as financial services, telecommunications or maritime transport, and an improvement in their access to the services market. public tenders in the country, valued at around 60,000 million euros a year.
For its part, New Zealand estimates that the agreement with which it is now its third trading partner will allow it to increase its exports to the EU by 1.8 billion dollars a year (1.64 billion euros), according to the New Zealand Minister of Commerce, Damien O’Connor, at a press conference.
In the agri-food chapter, sensitive for the EU given the strength of New Zealand, in addition to the elimination of all tariffs on European exports, the agreement protects all European wines and spirits and other products with designation of origin, such as wine Rioja or Manchego cheese.
Likewise, for some products that worried the Europeans, such as dairy products, beef and sheep meat, ethanol or corn, the volume of New Zealand imports that can benefit from the reduction of tariffs will be limited.
On the other hand, the agreement includes commitments on sustainability for the first time and requires compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement, even foreseeing sanctions if it is not respected, in line with the new approach adopted by the EU to promote sustainability also to through their business relationships.
“There are pioneering results in climate change and the Paris Agreement and important commitments in other areas, including labor rights, gender equality or subsidies that are harmful to the environment,” said the New Zealand prime minister, who emphasized the “shared commitment” of both sides with human rights, global security or international rules-based system.
This cooperation also includes the agreement, also signed today, for New Zealand to participate in the Horizon Europe community research and innovation programme, which will mobilize some 100,000 million euros over seven years, as well as the pact for the country to cooperate with Europol, in force from today.
“These agreements bring the EU and New Zealand even closer. Despite being a world away, we have a lot in common,” said von der Leyen, who thanked New Zealand for aligning itself with the European sanctions against Russia and its support for Ukraine despite being at the antipodes.
“From the Russian war in Ukraine to rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, the geopolitical environment is increasingly changing and uncertain. All the more reason for like-minded partners to strengthen our ties to address different risks,” she added. BLAZETRENDS