Open Trade Negotiations with Australia and New Zealand
The Council of the EU authorized the European Commission to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand and adopted negotiating mandates for each of the negotiations. The trade agreements with both these countries seeks to further reduce the existing barriers to trade, remove custom duties on goods, and give better access for services and public procurement. The sectors that will likely benefit most from the FTAs are motor equipment, machinery, chemicals, processed foods, and services. The mandates are particularly concerned with protecting vulnerable sectors such as agriculture by maximizing the benefits of market opening without harming local producers. The mandates are supposed to provide for a safe comprehensive and modern framework, based on the highest standards of labour, safety, environment, climate, and consumer protection. The EU is Australia’s third largest trading partner. The EU trade with Australia amounted to more than €47.7 billion in 2017. The EU is New Zealand’s second largest trading partner after Australia. Trade with New Zealand resulted in a positive trade balance of €1.9 billion in 2017 on the EU side. Furthermore, EU companies hold more than €10 billion in foreign direct investment in New Zealand.