Remarks by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis at the press point on the EU – New Zealand Trade Agreement

(Source: European Commission)

“Check against delivery”

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am honoured to be joined by Minister O’Connor. I want to start by thanking him and his team for their great work and commitment to get this deal over the line.

The conclusion of a trade agreement between the EU and New Zealand is a significant step forward for both sides.

This is a state-of-the-art trade deal for the EU.

A partnership built on shared values, with sustainability at its core.

The far-reaching sustainability commitments of this deal are without precedent.

Of course, the sine qua non purpose of any trade deal – namely, to generate mutual economic opportunity – is also front and centre.

And the deal sends a strong geopolitical signal. It is a mutual commitment based on trust and shared values.

This matters more than ever in the uncertain world we live in today. It is in our strategic interest to widen our network of trade partnerships with countries that share the same values as us.

Let me outline a few economic gains:

  • There is potential to increase bilateral trade by 30%.
  • We expect that EU exports to New Zealand, can increase by up to 4.5 billion euro per year.
  • Removal of tariffs should save EU businesses around 140 million euro in duties per year.
  • This deal protects over 200 EU agri-food products. This matters, because we consider our Geographical Indications to be our rural intellectual property, the lifeblood of rural prosperity.

New Zealand will also benefit of course. This is a win-win deal.

  • EU investments in your country have the potential to grow by 80%.
  • And your exporters will gain commercially meaningful access to the EU single market.

The wider significance of this deal for the EU trade agenda should not be underestimated.

First of all, it shows that our agenda is not standing still. It is dynamic. It is always evolving.

We already have the deepest and widest network of global trade agreements of any global power. More than the United States. More than China.

Every time we add a new deal to this network, we add a new layer of possibility.

Every agreement is a gateway to new economic opportunity. Of course, this is vital as we steer our economies through the turbulence caused first by the Covid-19 pandemic, and now by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

But our trade deals are also a platform for promoting our wider values, notably on climate and sustainability.

Just last week, we published our new approach on trade and sustainable development.

I am very pleased that just one week later, we are already delivering on this new model.

The deal with New Zealand is the first of its kind to include sanctions in case of a material breach of the Paris Climate Agreement. We also agreed that Paris Agreement will be an essential element of this deal.

It has binding provisions on promoting core labour rights.

This is the first time that an EU trade deal contains:

  • a dedicated sustainable food systems chapter;
  • dedicated provisions on trade and gender equality;
  • a dedicated provision on trade and fossil fuel subsidies reform; and
  • liberalisation of green goods and services, which will contribute to the green transition.

Simply put, these are the most ambitious sustainability commitments in any trade agreement ever.

And these are commitments with teeth.

If either side fails to meet their obligations, they are enforceable through trade sanctions.

Of course, we would only deploy sanctions as a last resort.

But it shows the seriousness of our shared intent.

The deal also delivers on the digital transition.

It contains state of the art rules on digital trade.  Our values-based approach to digital is baked into the deal.  Personal data is sacrosanct.

There are ambitious rules on data flows, facilitating trade in this crucial and growing sector of our economy. This is a significant step forward for our economies and for the development of digital trade rules internationally.

Finally, let me say a word on agri-food exports.

Farmers on both sides will have improved market opportunities.

Tariffs will be eliminated from day one on key EU exports such as pigmeat, wine and sparkling wine, chocolate, sugar confectionary, and biscuits.

Sensitivities on both sides will be fully taken into account. Notably on the EU side, for dairy products, beef and sheep meat, ethanol and sweetcorn.

We succeeded in striking the right balance for both sides.

To conclude, I am truly delighted that we have succeeded in concluding such a mutually beneficial deal. My warm thanks to both teams who worked tirelessly to achieve this excellent result.

We will now commend this deal for ratification to the co-legislators.

The European Union will continue to pursue a dynamic and results-oriented trade agenda.

We will pursue new deals with trusted partners around the world.

And we will find new and better ways to extract maximum value from our existing agreements.

Thank you Minister O’Connor for your cooperation and for the great outcome.

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