spiritNEWS July 2022

spiritsEUROPE welcomes the announcement of the Free Trade Agreement with New Zealand

Last week, the European Commission announced that it had concluded negotiations for a free trade agreement with New Zealand. The texts that have been agreed has just been published and we understand that the agreement will deliver two important benefits to EU spirits exporters.

First of all, the elimination of import tariffs on EU spirits in New Zealand (and vice versa). Secondly, the agreement will protect the full list of EU wines and spirits Geographical indications. The EU spirits exports to New Zealand have doubled in 5 years and this agreement will help us grow further.

We expect the negotiated draft texts will be published shortly.They will be subject to the famous “legal scrubbing” and translation to all official EU languages before they can be submitted to the Council for approval and then to the European Parliament for consent. After the consent by the Parliament, and once the Council decides to conclude the agreement and New Zealand also ratified it, the agreement can enter into force.

This new FTA gives us the opportunity to remind policy makers and stakehodlers how commited our sector is the Free Trade Agreements. They have cut down tariffs, improved GIs protection – source of growth and jobs back in European regions- and have paved the way for significant market access improvements. Of course, FTAs alone are not sufficient. Good enforcement – under the leadership of the EU’s Chief Trade Enforcment officer- is critical to ensure that partners deliver on their commitmenbts and that unforeseen barriers, red tapes or lack of information do not prevent companies from benefitting for the FTAs to the fullest possible extent.

This call was reiterated in March this year by 25 European associations. Securing open, free and fair international trade means supporting European businesses, European jobs and European prosperity as our economy recovers from the Covid-19 crisis. It means securing the most diversified and high-quality choice of goods and services for European citizens. And, by ensuring a level playing field for our companies, it helps maintain the competitiveness of our European industry, both for SMEs and larger companies.

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