Today, the European Parliament approved a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and New Zealand.

The FTA will eliminate all tariffs on EU exports to New Zealand upon its implementation. Additionally, 98.5% of EU tariffs on New Zealand’s trade will be removed within seven years. 

The agreement passed with broad support, with 524 votes in favour, 85 against, and 21 abstentions on Wednesday. 

It comprehensively protects EU geographical indications (GIs) for wines and spirits, covering a total of 163 renowned EU foodstuff GIs. The deal also offers protection to European producers of sensitive agricultural goods, including beef and various dairy products. 

Members of the European Parliament have praised the FTA as a benchmark agreement, noting its distinction as the EU’s first to include binding commitments to the Paris Agreement and core standards set by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

In 2022, bilateral trade in goods between the EU and New Zealand totalled €9.1 billion, with the EU ranking as New Zealand’s third-largest trading partner.

The EU Commission forecasts a 30% increase in trade between the two entities. Moreover, EU investment in New Zealand is projected to surge by more than 80%.

Accompanying the FTA, the Parliament’s report outlining its stance was passed with 457 votes in favour, 104 against, and 74 abstentions.

Read the main elements of the trade deal here.

Rapporteur Daniel Caspary (EPP, DE) said, “Today is a good day for the EU and global rule-based trade. Our vote is a very clear signal of our commitment to negotiating new EU free trade agreements, of which we have seen too few in this parliamentary term. While we live at different ends of the world, the EU and New Zealand are close, trusted, reliable and like-minded partners. Together, we are driving global rules-based trade forward against the backdrop of a worldwide wave of protectionism and isolationism.” 

 Bernd Lange (S&D, DE), chair of the International Trade Committee, said in the plenary debate on Tuesday, “I am a proud chair of the International Trade Committee today. Because in this global world of fragmentation, we managed to agree on the most progressive and sustainable trade agreement by the European Union ever. This is a big success.”

Member states are expected to give their formal approval on Monday. Once the agreement is ratified by New Zealand, it can then enter into force, likely by mid-2024.