Trade Minister Todd McClay and European Union Trade Commissioner Cecelia Malmström have agreed the completion of joint scoping discussions towards an EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement (FTA) following a meeting in Brussels today.
After almost 2 years of discussion, reaching this significant milestone means the FTA process now enters a new phase, where the Commission and New Zealand will seek respective mandates to commence negotiations.
"Today’s meeting was an important demonstration of our commitment to launch negotiations as soon as possible in 2017," Mr McClay says.
“New Zealand and the EU both recognise there are substantial benefits to be gained from free trade, and we are now one step closer to a high-quality, comprehensive FTA that can deliver great outcomes for our citizens.”
Mr McClay and Commissioner Malmström also agreed that officials should look at ways to engage the public on trade issues. Mr McClay said the EU undertakes a number of trade events during negotiations which might suit New Zealand.
"With this in mind, I have invited Commissioner Malmström to visit New Zealand later this year. The Commissioner has accepted this invitation," Mr McClay says.