EU, New Zealand fix free trade deal

A free trade deal between the European Union and New Zealand was finalized on Thursday. It may increase the flow of products and services by 30% and shows Europe’s search for allies to make up for its corporate disengagement from Russia.

The arrangement, according to EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, sends a significant “geopolitical signal,” and he emphasized that the EU will seek out other alliances.

Dombrovskis told reporters, “It’s evident that we need to diversify away from Russia… (and) search for new markets, supply chains, and so on, and this is exactly what this agreement contributes to.

The majority of EU countries have requested the Commission, which is in charge of managing trade policy, to expedite trade deal signing in order to prevent other accords from taking its place.

The notion of a trade pact had been proposed 14 years prior, according to Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand.

The EU’s commerce with New Zealand will be on level with those of nations that already have a trade agreement with New Zealand, particularly members of the 11-nation CPTPP Asia-Pacific accord, thanks to the agreement, which was reached after negotiations started in mid-2018.

It will also allow it to catch up to Britain, a former EU member that has inked trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand, though those agreements have not yet taken effect.

The deal, which would be the first one reached by the EU and includes possible consequences for infractions of environmental or labor standards—a concept it just recently proposed—will reduce tariffs on a variety of items.

For EU exports of goods including clothes, chemicals, medicines, and automobiles as well as wine and confections, tariffs will be reduced. The EU will raise the amount of lamb, butter, and cheese it imports as well as its quota for New Zealand beef, which is particularly sensitive for France.

When questioned about the concessions made during difficult, final negotiations, New Zealand Trade Minister Damien O’Connor responded half-jokingly, “It’s probably fair to say that nobody likes it, so we must have got it about right.”

Subject to approval by the European Parliament and EU states, a process that has occasionally dragged on for years, the agreement may come into effect in 18 to 24 months.

It was a good day for trade, with a pact that was among the most progressive on labor rights and the environment, according to Bernd Lange, chair of the parliamentary trade committee that will examine the agreement.

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