EU’s external trade: cooperation agreement with New Zealand

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The EU-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement is aimed at removing customs duties and bureaucracy that European firms face when dealing with export-import relations between the EU member states and New Zealand. External trade is an exclusive European Commission’s competence. 

Negotiations for a trade agreement with New Zealand started in June 2018 and were concluded on 30 June 2022, when the deal was announced by the Commission President von der Leyen and then New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern.
The agreement was signed by both parties on 9 July 2023. The European Parliament adopted it on 22 November 2023, followed by the adoption of a decision to conclude the agreement by the Council on 27 November 2023.
New Zealand completed its ratification procedure on 25 March 2024.

The EU-27 member states have formed a single territory for customs purposes: it implies that the EU is a Customs Union, meaning that its member states have no customs duty barriers among themselves and they all have a common customs tariff for imported goods.
Moreover, once customs duties have been duly paid and compliance with import conditions has been inspected, imported goods are free to circulate within the rest of the EU without any further customs controls.
However, concluding the EU agreement with the external partners is an exclusive competence of the EU institutions.

Advantages to the EU businesses
EU-New Zealand trade is expected to grow by up to 30 percent within a decade, with EU exports potentially growing by up to €4.5 billion annually.
The EU member states’ investment into New Zealand has the potential to grow by up to 80 percent.
This landmark agreement also includes unprecedented sustainability commitments, including respect of the Paris Climate Agreement, core labour rights and sustainability.

EU farmers will benefit from the elimination of tariffs on key EU exports such as pig meat, wine and sparkling wine, chocolate, sugar confectionary and biscuits.
Moreover, the agreement protects the full list of EU wines and spirits (close to 2,000 names), such as Prosecco and Champagne, as well as 163 of the most renowned traditional EU products (Geographical Indications), such as Feta cheese, Istarski pršut ham and Lübecker Marzipan. Meanwhile, sensitive EU agricultural products such as beef, sheep meat and dairy products are protected with carefully designed tariff rate quotas.

EU business can now take advantage of benefits such as:
= Zero tariffs on EU exports to New Zealand.
= A more open New Zealand services market in key sectors such as financial services, telecommunications, maritime transport and delivery services.
= Non-discriminatory treatment of EU investors in New Zealand.
= Improved access for EU companies to New Zealand government procurement contracts for goods, services, works and works concessions.
= A dedicated chapter to help small business exports.
= Significantly reduced compliance requirements and procedures.



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