The European Union and New Zealand have said they will launch negotiations toward a free trade agreement.
The commitment was made in a joint statement issued following a meeting between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. They said: “Today we committed to start the process for negotiations to achieve swiftly a deep and comprehensive high-quality free trade agreement. Discussions to define the scope and overall approach to the negotiations should start as soon as possible.”
For New Zealand, Key said: “I am pleased that we are able to announce a critical first step towards a FTA that should provide greater access to European markets, and make it easier for Kiwi and EU companies to do business with one another.”
New Zealand’s commitment to progress free trade agreement talks with the EU follows the successful conclusion of the Korea FTA and Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. “These agreements are part of the Government’s wider plan to diversify the economy by building strong trade, investment and economic ties around the world,” Key said.
“The EU is a key trading partner for New Zealand with two-way trade totaling over NZD19bn (USD12.8bn). It is also our second-largest investment source, as well as our largest research and development partner,” the Prime Minister said. “We look forward to working with the EU and its member states on next steps and to starting formal negotiations as soon as possible.”
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