EU finalizes treaty with New Zealand

The EU has completed the process of ratifying the New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. The decision by 27 EU countries came just days after approval by the European Parliament.

The deal removes import duties on exports of key EU agricultural products such as pork, wine and sparkling wine, chocolate, confectionery and biscuits. 

The agreement takes into account the interests of producers of sensitive agricultural products such as dairy products, beef, sheep meat, ethanol and sweet corn from the EU, the European Commission emphasizes. There will be no liberalization of trade in these sectors. Instead, the agreement will allow only limited amounts of duty-free imports or only at lower rates from New Zealand through so-called tariff rate quotas.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the agreement will create great opportunities for EU companies. In addition, the FTA protects the entire list of EU wines and spirits (nearly 2,000 names), continuing to protect 163 of New Zealand's most renowned geographical indication products, including cheeses, ham and olives.

According to the European Commission, the agreement will provide companies in all economic sectors with an annual tariff reduction of around 140 million euros. This is expected to increase bilateral trade by as much as 30% within ten years. New Zealand's EU investment could increase by as much as 80%. 

In addition, the agreement includes sustainability obligations such as compliance with the Paris Agreement and fundamental labor rights.