State of play of EU–New Zealand FTA talks

State of play of EU–New Zealand FTA talks

The European Parliament Research Service recently published a study on the state of play of the EU-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement talks.

Negotiations on an EU free trade agreement (FTA) with New Zealand, one of the fastest-growing developed economies in the world, were launched in June 2018. Eight negotiating rounds took place between July 2018 and June 2020, resulting in the closure of the Transparency Chapter of the future FTA. The next round will be scheduled with the New Zealand government following the general elections held on 17 October 2020.

In October 2017, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the proposed negotiating mandate for FTA negotiations with New Zealand. In January 2019, the Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA), together with the Policy Department for External Relations, held a workshop on the negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. A study linked to the workshop was published in June 2019.

Despite being one of New Zealand’s biggest trade partners and investors, the EU does not have preferential trade arrangements with the country. Therefore, EU economic operators are in a less favourable position when accessing the New Zealand market than those from countries that already have an FTA with New Zealand. Bilateral trade flows in goods accounted for €7.4 billion in 2019, with an EU trade surplus of €2.7 billion, and bilateral trade in services was worth €3.8 billion in 2018, with an EU surplus of €1.1 billion.

New Zealand is a major producer and exporter of agricultural products. Agri-food trade is also significant in the country’s trading relationship with the EU, representing 11.5 % of EU exports to and 67.1 % of EU imports from New Zealand in 2019, with a €0.9 billion deficit on the EU side. Therefore, agriculture is one of the key issues in the talks. The Council negotiating directives on an EU FTA with New Zealand envisage specific treatment for the most sensitive products, including longer transition periods or tariff-rate quotas for certain agricultural products, and state that green box payments should be recognised as non-trade- distortive. They also set the objective that the FTA should provide direct protection to EU geographical indications (GIs), based on a list of GIs including wines, spirits, agricultural products and foodstuffs.

Since the start of the negotiations in July 2018, the European Commission has published its textual proposals for the negotiations and the reports on the negotiation rounds with New Zealand. Negotiation reports have also been issued by New Zealand.

In April 2019, the European Commission held a civil society dialogue to present the state of play of the talks with Australia and New Zealand. Also presented were the draft inception reports of the trade sustainability impact assessments (SIAs) for the two countries, providing inputs to the EU negotiators. An overview of the progress of the negotiations and the draft final reports of the trade SIAs for Australia and New Zealand were presented at the subsequent civil society dialogue in December 2019.

Further information is available

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