Statement delivered by Ambassador João Aguiar Machado
On behalf of the European Union, I would like to warmly welcome H. E. Ms Clare Kelly, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO, and the Delegation of New Zealand and thank the WTO Secretariat and the Government of New Zealand for their comprehensive reports, which will serve as a basis for our discussions. My appreciation is extended to the Discussant, Ambassador H.E. Mr. Stephen Cornelius De Boer (Canada), for his introductory remarks.
Today’s world is changing rapidly, and unfortunately not for the better. In the very recent past, we have seen, among other things, a global recession caused by the health crisis, and in the last 3 months, the return of war in Europe.
In such a context, the European Union would like to commend New Zealand’s unwavering commitment to openness and to the rules-based international order, demonstrated by its swift reaction to the Russian illegal, unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine. Together, we stand strong in our solidarity with the Ukrainian people in the face of these acts of violence.
With these introductory remarks, let us now return to the subject of today’s meeting, the trade policy review of New Zealand.
As the Secretariat’s report emphasized, trade is a strong driver of the post-pandemic economic recovery. New Zealand continues to be a firm supporter of the multilateral trading system and remains actively engaged in the WTO. Also, it signed multiple new trade-related agreements since its last Trade Policy Review in 2016. The EU in particular welcomes New Zealand’s accession to the WTO’s GPA.
We also congratulate New Zealand on the conclusion and entry into force of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, for which New Zealand acts as the repository, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. These are two significant regional trade agreements that – while differing in scale and ambition – both carry the flag of promoting the rules-based agenda and closer regional integration through trade.
The EU and New Zealand are long-standing partners with strong and healthy commercial ties. The EU is New Zealand’s fourth trading partner and New Zealand’s second source of imports and our two-way investments are significant. At the time of New Zealand’s sixth Trade Policy Review today, our relationship is stronger than ever. Since New Zealand’s last review at the WTO, we have strengthened ties by entering into a partnership agreement containing a number of economic and trade cooperation rules and we opened negotiations for a high-quality modern Free Trade Agreement in 2018. Our relationship will grow stronger and deeper still with what we have set ourselves to jointly achieve by finalizing our FTA talks as soon as possible.
I also wish to convey the EU’s appreciation for New Zealand’s significant contribution to the multilateral trading system by promoting solutions to strategic issues such as on WTO reform or the multilateral response to the pandemic. We also appreciate our excellent cooperation and New Zealand’s active engagement as likeminded country on other key issues of common interest, such as the Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement. New Zealand has also played a proactive and pioneering role in international trade policy development on innovative and progressive, inclusive and sustainable trade participating in a number of joint initiatives and plurilateral processes. I would like to highlight especially in this context New Zealand’s leading role in the plurilateral initiative on fossil fuel subsidy reform which the EU co-sponsored.
In acknowledging New Zealand’s exceptionally strong record, there are some areas though where we would like further clarification or information. I will mention just two of the issues raised by the EU in the questions submitted ahead of this TPR and that we find particularly important. One is related to the decisions taken by Kiwifruit New Zealand, and the other covers the pricing of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. We thank New Zealand for the timely replies to our questions that we will study closely.
To conclude, the EU applauds the transparency of New Zealand’s trade policies and its continued engagement in the multilateral trading system.
On behalf of the EU, I wish New Zealand a successful review, being confident that all suggestions and feedback provided by Members during this exercise will be well received.