European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and New Zealand’s Minister for Trade David Parker met Thursday in the capital of New Zealand, Wellington to officially launch talks for a comprehensive and ambitious trade agreement.
The negotiations will aim at removing barriers to trade in goods and services, as well as developing trade rules to make trade easier and more sustainable.
The announcement follows on the footsteps of the launch of negotiations with Australia earlier this week. It also comes soon after the conclusion of negotiations with Mexico, the finalization of the agreements with Japan and Singapore, and the EU-Canada agreement, which entered into force in September last year.
Commissioner Malmström said: “Today is an important milestone in EU-New Zealand relations. Together, we can conclude a win-win agreement that offers benefits to business and citizens alike. Trade agreements are about economic opportunities but they are also about strengthening ties with our close allies. In New Zealand, we know that we have a partner who stands up for the same vital values as us. This agreement is an excellent opportunity to set ambitious common rules and shape globalization, making trade easier while safeguarding sustainable development. We can lead by example.”
The first formal round of talks between the respective sides’ teams of negotiators will take place in Brussels from July 16 to 20 .
Whilst in New Zealand, Commissioner Malmström met with Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters, as well as with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs. She also held a public “Europa” lecture organized by the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs.
During her visit, Commissioner Malmström is also meeting with the Ministers for Primary Industries and Climate Change, as well as with representatives of civil society, academia and business. On Friday, 22 June, she will visit an innovation hub with companies with ties to the EU.
Bilateral trade in goods between the EU and New Zealand stood at €8.7 billion last year. The sectors which make up the bulk of EU exports to New Zealand are manufactured goods like transport equipment, and machinery and appliances, as well as chemicals, plastics, food, and services. In addition, a further €4.4 billion is exchanged in services (2016). The EU is New Zealand’s third biggest trade partner and the agreement could increase trade in goods by almost 50%, or by one third if both goods and services are considered.
New Zealand is one of the world’s fastest-growing developed economies. It recently negotiated the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with 10 other countries in the Pacific region. The agreement between the EU and New Zealand will ensure that European companies are competing on a level playing field with businesses from countries with which New Zealand already has trade agreements.