Sydney, Australia, Jul 10 (EFE).- New Zealand and the European Union have signed a free trade agreement that removes tariffs on up to 91 percent of New Zealand’s products in Europe, while granting protection to traditional EU products with Geographical Indications (GI) in New Zealand, such as the Rioja wine or Queso Manchego cheese.
The agreement was signed by New Zealand’s minister of trade and export growth, Damien O’Connor and the EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis in Brussels on Sunday in the presence of New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, Wellington announced in a press release Monday.
The agreement, for which negotiations began on Jun. 30, 2022, is expected to come into effect in the first quarter of 2024 after being ratified by the legislatures of the two signatories.
The deal is expected to result in 60 percent of EU’s butter imports to be sourced from New Zealand – compared to a 14 percent market share now – while the archipelago’s cheese exports to Europe could constitute up to 15 percent of overall imports, compared to a tiny 0.5 percent currently.
“New Zealand producers are some of the most sustainable in the world and these credentials resonate well with EU consumers. New Zealand and the EU share similar values and a commitment to high labour, environment and animal welfare standards,” O’Connor said in the press release.
For Wellington, the deal with the EU – its third largest trade ally – could amount to annual tax savings worth NZ$100 million ($61.8 million).
It is set to allow New Zealand’s exports to EU to grow by NZ$1.8 billion annually, according to the projections outlined in the press release.
Bilateral trade between the two sides has grown continuously in recent years to reach nearly 9.1 billion euros ($9.96 billion) in 2022 and is expected to jump by up to 30 percent after the deal, according to EU data.
The agreement would also remove all the tariffs on key EU exports to New Zealand, such as pork, wine and sparkling wine, chocolate, sugar confectionary and biscuits, and would open the Oceania nation’s services market in key sectors such as financial services, telecommunications, maritime transport and delivery services.
The FTA would also protect close to 2000 EU wines and spirits such as Prosecco, Polish Vodka, Rioja, Champagne and Tokaji and 163 of the the most renowned traditional EU products (GI), such as Asiago, Feta, Comté or Queso Manchego cheeses. EFE