NewsFree trade agreement between the EU and New Zealand signed – DW...

    Free trade agreement between the EU and New Zealand signed – DW – 09.07.2023

    EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke of an “ambitious” and “very balanced text” that would “bring New Zealand and the EU even closer together”. In the words of New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, the agreement offers “enormous benefits” for both sides. Before the agreement can come into force next year, it still has to be approved by the European Parliament. New Zealand has yet to ratify it.

    New Zealand Prime Minister Chris HipkinsImage: Frank Augstein/AP Photo/picture alliance

    Both sides agreed on the free trade agreement in June 2022 after four years of tough negotiations. The European Union hopes that this will increase bilateral trade by 30 percent. The annual exports of the EU could therefore increase by up to 4.5 billion euros. Customs savings of around 140 million euros are possible for companies in the first year. EU investment in New Zealand could increase by up to 80 percent, said EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis.

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    Close trade exchange

    The EU is already New Zealand’s third largest trading partner, which mainly exports wine, fruit and meat to Europe. Last year, bilateral trade amounted to just over nine billion euros.

    According to the federal government, Germany was most recently New Zealand’s most important trading partner within the EU, while New Zealand ranked 59th for Germany in a global comparison. Vehicles, machines and pharmaceutical products in particular are exported from Germany. Most recently, New Zealand’s most important export goods to Germany were agricultural and forestry products such as sheep and game meat, fruit, dairy products and wool.

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    Sustainability is built in

    For the first time in an EU agreement, the text also includes a chapter on “sustainable development”. Von der Leyen spoke of “unprecedented social and climate policy commitments” that ensured “fair and green growth”.

    EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
    EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen Image: Henry Nicholls/AP/picture alliance

    Volker Treier, head of foreign trade at the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), described the agreement as a “beacon in an otherwise gloomy foreign trade environment”. It is a counterpoint to increasing protectionism worldwide. The chairman of the CDU/CSU group in the European Parliament, Daniel Caspary, emphasized that the agreement requires compliance with the Paris climate agreement. “It also ensures that violations of the agreed sustainability regulations can be sanctioned for the first time.”

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    The Chair of the Internal Market Committee in the European Parliament, Anna Cavazzini, said that robust sustainability requirements in trade agreements must become the gold standard.

    kle/fw (afp, dpa)

    Source: DW

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