EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, and New Zealand’s Minister of Trade, Tim Groser, met on 29 October in Brussels to launch discussions on the scope of a potential bilateral free trade agreement.
The meeting followed the announcement earlier today by President Juncker, President Tusk and the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mr Key, of their shared commitment to engage in the process leading towards a high-quality free trade agreement.
Both sides agreed that the future deal should comprehensively address all of the issues concerning the current trade and investment relation. The shared aim is to create rules that correspond to the reality of global supply chains and the increasing international interdependence in manufacturing and provision of services. The future agreement would also promote transparency of rules, the fight against corruption and coherence between economic benefits, workers’ rights and environmental protection.
Commissioner Malmström and Minister Groser also used this opportunity to exchange views on the preparation for the upcoming 10th Ministerial Conference of the World Tarde Organisation (WTO) and the ongoing talks on a Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) in which both the EU and New Zealand participate.
The EU and New Zealand are close partners that share similar values and already cooperate closely on trade policy issues, including in the multilateral area.
Today’s discussions stem from a reflection process initiated in March 2014 and the Commission’s subsequent plan to seek a Council authorisation to open negotiations, as mentioned in the EU trade and investment strategy of 14 October 2015.
In parallel to the preparatory talks with New Zealand and ahead of seeking a mandate from EU Member States for engaging formally in the negotiations, the Commission will assess the potential impact of the future agreement on EU interests, also taking into account the sensitivities in the EU farming sector.