Written by 11:55 pm EU Investment

EU/NZ FTA signed soon?

The European Union’s ambassador to NZ, Nina Obermaier, is hopeful that the FTA negotiated last year will be signed off by the middle of this year.

While there has been agreement between representatives of the two parties, the FTA requires final sign-off by their respective parliaments. In the case of the EU, this is far more complicated than it is in NZ. Firstly, it has to undergo a ‘legal’ review and then the agreement that has to be translated into the 24 official languages of the EU so that all their parliamentarians can approve it.

Obermaier says this is now in the process of being done and hopefully the FTA will be formally approved in July this year.

“The FTA will bring our relations to a whole new level. It’s not the signature necessarily but the entry in force which will happen in 2024 if all goes well,” she told Rural News.

“What we will see, and this is what we have seen with other FTAs, is that trade will grow by around 30% and investment at an even greater rate, so we are looking at an increase of roughly 80%.”

Obermaier says Fieldays was so important because EU investors are looking at sustainable opportunities for investment. She believes there are lots of wonderful projects here in NZ.

“We think there are massive opportunities. We are aware that there is disappointment in some sectors about the FTA,” she told Rural News. “However, this (the FTA) goes way beyond dairy and beef access. We are a market of 440 million consumers and when it comes to horticulture, honey, seafood and timber more than 99% of these products into the EU will be tariff free from day one.”

Obermaier believes the FTA will strengthen the political relationship between the two parties and says this has happened with NZ’s swift response to supporting the EU in respect of Ukraine.

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