The European Union and New Zealand sign a highly political free trade agreement

The European Union and New Zealand sign a highly political free trade agreement

It is a trade agreement where, paradoxically, there is very little matter of trade. The Free Trade Agreement signed on Thursday, June 30th between the European Union and New Zealand includes many commitments ” Unprecedented “She welcomed, during her presentation in Brussels, the President of the European Commission, Ursulan von der Leyen, in the presence of the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern.

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The text, which is not disclosed, devotes several chapters to gender equality, sustainable food systems and even fossil fuel subsidy reform. In the process, the European Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, welcomed B Mutual commitment based on trust and shared values from “Sends a strong geopolitical signal”. The agreement could save companies 140 million euros, while trade in goods between the two countries amounted to only 7.8 billion euros in 2021. “In terms of sustainability, this is the most ambitious commercial deal ever,” he said. argued Mr. Dombrovskis.

‘unfair competition’

But where is the sustainable trade when you transport lamb soaked in liquid nitrogen for twelve weeks by boat to travel 22,000 km? », He gets annoyed, of the Puy de Dome, Michel Baudouin, president of the National Sheep Federation. When the farmer went to Brussels to protest the increase in New Zealand’s meat import quotas by an additional 38,000 tonnes, she was told the deal was above all else. ” Policy “. “It’s an unfair competition, is carried away, If lamb from New Zealand is three times cheaper than lamb from France, it is, among other things, because we do not have the same environmental and social standards. » Many breeders’ unions criticize Brussels for not getting New Zealand a ban on pesticides used on their breeding pastures, when they are banned on European soil, or for banning the cultivation of soybean cakes, which accelerate deforestation.

Against the backdrop of diplomatic tensions with China, which is the outlet for 30% of its exports, New Zealand is seeking to turn to other partners.

French Foreign Trade Minister Franck Riester reacted cautiously. “We will assess the draft agreement in detail in view of its presentation to the Council of the European Union, possibly in 2023, to check that our interests have been taken into account,” he said. A welcoming Mr. Riester explains, however, “Insert the Paris Agreement as a key element” and existence Protecting our sensitive agricultural sectors in the text. This text will be rewritten in its final legal version, translated and then submitted to the European Parliament.

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