The European Union today completed the political procedures to ratify its ambitious free trade agreement with New Zealand. The European Council's decision comes less than a week after the European Parliament's approval. The agreement is expected to allow European Union companies to reduce customs duties by about 140 million euros annually. As a result, bilateral trade is expected to grow by 30% within a decade, with EU exports reaching €4.5 billion annually. EU investment in New Zealand is expected to increase by 80%.
This landmark agreement also includes unprecedented commitments on sustainability, including respect for the Paris Climate Agreement and basic labor rights. Trade agreements are part of the EU's approach to free trade and developing international partnerships – one of the three objectives of the agreement European Strategy for Economic Security Submitted in June. The agreement also strengthens the European Union's engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, which is of strategic and economic importance.
Before the agreement enters into force, New Zealand will need to complete the ratification process. This is expected to happen during the first or second quarter of 2024.
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