The European Union and New Zealand have signed a free trade agreement that will increase bilateral trade by 30 percent. Both trading partners are abolishing almost all import duties. The free trade agreement has been negotiated for more than four years.
According to European Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, the deal heralds a "new generation" of trade agreements, incorporating sanctions for the first time if the other side violates core labor principles or the Paris climate agreement.
Provisions on sustainable food systems, gender equality and reform of fossil fuel subsidies have also been included for the first time.
The Tariff Quota Agreement (TRQ) includes significantly increased access to the EU market for New Zealand dairy, mutton and beef. The European agricultural umbrella organization Copa-Cosega speaks of 'painful compromises for sensitive sectors'. This will only increase the European negative trade balance (about €750 million in 2021) on agriculture.
In addition, the concession of an additional 38,000 tonnes for sheep meat is in addition to the current WTO criteria market entry of 114,184 tonnes. This is of great concern, according to Copa-Cosega, about the cumulative impact of concessions granted to New Zealand by the EU.
European products, such as wine and pork, are already present on the relatively small New Zealand market (4.8 million inhabitants), leaving few options for rebalancing the agricultural trade balance, the European agri-dome fears.