The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will remove 100% of New Zealand tariffs on EU exports on its entry into force and will lift 98.5% of EU tariffs on New Zealand trade after seven years.
The agreement, approved with 524 votes in favour, 85 against and 21 abstentions on Wednesday, safeguards all EU geographical indications (GIs) for wines and spirits along with a list of 163 famous EU foodstuff GIs. The deal also defends European producers of sensitive agricultural goods, such as beef and several dairy products. Described by MEPs as a “gold standard” agreement, this FTA is the EU’s first to include enforceable commitments to the Paris Agreement and to core International Labour Organization (ILO) standards.
Bilateral trade in goods between the EU and New Zealand reached €9.1 billion in 2022, with the EU being New Zealand’s third-largest trade partner. Trade between New Zealand and the EU is expected to increase by 30%, according to the EU Commission. EU investment flows into New Zealand could increase by over 80%, according to the same projections.
The accompanying report, setting out the Parliament’s position, was adopted by 457 votes in favour, 104 against and 74 abstentions.
Read the main elements of the trade deal here.
“Today is a good day for the EU and global rule-based trade. Our vote is a very clear signal of our commitment to negotiating new EU free trade agreements, of which we have seen too few in this parliamentary term. While we live at different ends of the world, the EU and New Zealand are close, trusted, reliable and like-minded partners. Together, we are driving global rules-based trade forward against the backdrop of a worldwide wave of protectionism and isolationism,” rapporteur Daniel Caspary (EPP, DE) said.
“I am a proud chair of the International Trade Committee today. Because in this global world of fragmentation, we managed to agree on the most progressive and sustainable trade agreement by the European Union ever. This is a big success,” Bernd Lange (S&D, DE), chair of the International Trade Committee, said in the plenary debate on Tuesday.
Member states are expected to give their formal approval on Monday. Once the agreement is ratified by New Zealand, it can then enter into force, likely by mid-2024.
Negotiations were launched in New Zealand in 2018, and after 12 negotiating rounds, a political agreement was reached on 30 June 2022. New Zealand is an important partner for the EU in the Pacific region, and politically plays a significant role in multilateral forums as well. This agreement aligns with the EU’s broader strategy of reinforcing ties with like-minded countries.