WELLINGTON, July 1 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand and the European Union have concluded negotiations on a major free trade agreement (FTA), which covers market access into 27 European countries and removes duties on the majority of products New Zealand exports.
"Our EU-NZ FTA is expected to increase the value of New Zealand's exports to the EU by up to 1.8 billion NZ dollars (1.12 billion U.S. dollars) per year from 2035," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday after the FTA signing in Brussels.
"It's a strategically important and economically beneficial deal that comes at a crucial time in our export-led COVID-19 recovery," Ardern said in a statement.
The deal delivers tangible gains for exporters into a restrictive agricultural market. It cuts costs and red tape for exporters and opens up new high-value market opportunities, she said.
This is the fifth FTA New Zealand has concluded in the past five years and sits alongside upgrades to the existing agreements with China and Singapore, she said, adding that the increase in market access means 73.5 percent of New Zealand's global exports are now covered by an FTA, up from around 50 percent five years ago.
The deal provides duty-free access on 97 percent of the New Zealand's existing goods trade to the EU within seven years, 91 percent from day one, said New Zealand Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O'Connor.
However, the meat and dairy industries, two of New Zealand's major export sectors, were disappointed as their gains in the trade deal were very limited.
The EU is New Zealand's fourth-largest trading partner with two-way goods and services trade worth 17.5 billion NZ dollars (10.9 billion U.S. dollars).