Free trade deal with the European Union comes into force

Horticulture shipments are likely being readied to take immediate advantage of the free trade deal with the European Union which comes into effect today, the EU ambassador in Wellington says.

New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) comes into effect from today.

Though not everyone was happy, the hard-won agreement was expected to save a hundred million dollars a year in tariffs with duties removed on 91 percent of New Zealand’s goods exports to the EU, rising to 97 per cent after seven years.

EU Ambassador Lawrence Meredith told Morning Report the agreement was “ambitious”.

“Definitely a win win for both sides.

“Where we really see potential for substantial gains overnight, and I’m sure there are shipments being ready as we speak, is in horticulture, so kiwifruit, apples, onions, big immediate gains.”

Meredith’s message for New Zealand businesses was: “lets do it today”.

“There are real new opportunities out there. A trade agreement is a piece of paper, as European Union ambassador what I want to facilitate is real new deals that bring new prosperity and high quality products for consumers both from the European Union and from New Zealand.”

Opportunities for EU companies included green energy, green aviation and green shipping, he said.

Despite concerns New Zealand would breach the FTA if it couldn’t uphold its 2030 climate targets, Meredith said he was confident both sides were committed to their implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“That’s really important for citizens across the European Union and across New Zealand.”

Labour leader Chris Hipkins, who was prime minister when the agreement was signed, said it was an exciting day.

“It opens up such a huge range of opportunities for our exporters, if we take our beef exporters for example, we could see beef exports to the EU treble.

“We could be supplying 60 percent of the butter that gets imported into the EU, we could be supplying that under this agreement and that’s just two of the examples.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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