EU FTA ratified as legislation gets Royal Assent

The agreement will come into effect on 1 May

EU FTA ratified as legislation gets Royal Assent

The European Union Free Trade Agreement Legislation Amendment Bill has been granted Royal Assent, signifying the completion of New Zealand's ratification process for its free trade agreement with the European Union.

The government informed the EU of the ratification at a ceremony held at the Beehive. According to Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay, with the ratification, the NZ-EUFTA can take effect on 1 May – an earlier timeline than anticipated.

The agreement was finalised last year, and its benefits include the following:

  • an increase in GDP of up to $1.4bn annually and a rise in exports to the EU by up to $1.8bn per year by 2035
  • the removal of duties on 91% of New Zealand's goods exports to the EU from the commencement of the agreement, expected to rise to 97% after seven years
  • tariff savings of $100m per year on New Zealand exports to the EU
  • considerable new quota access for beef, sheep meat, butter, and cheese; if filled, these are worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually

"For Kiwi fruit exporters Zespri estimates tariff removals will generate an average annual savings of up to $16,000 per kiwi fruit grower this year. While Onions New Zealand expect to see annual industry savings of $6.5m", McClay said. "The agreement also reduces regulatory barriers on service exports by 10% to 20%, contributing an additional $95m to $187m to our GDP once implemented".

The minister added that the NZ-EUFTA provided a platform for the EU and New Zealand to “further grow our trade relationship and deepen business connections”.

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