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EU-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement "Important step, but not a blueprint for future agreements"


27 Jun 2023


Global Europe

Frankfurt/Brussels, 27 June 2023 – Commenting on the EU Council's Decision to sign the EU-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, Ulrich Ackermann, Head of VDMA Foreign Trade, says:

"There is progress again in free trade. The Decision of the Council of the EU to sign the Free Trade Agreement with New Zealand is a positive signal. It should encourage the EU to finally succeed in bringing other Free Trade Agreements forward, for example with Mercosur or Mexico. The trade agreement with New Zealand will reduce tariffs on machinery, which currently reach up to 5%, and create a stable framework, especially for the medium-sized capital goods industry. After all, only a Free Trade Agreement can provide a stable and reliable framework for exports and investments.

The FTA between the EU and New Zealand also contains a chapter on trade and sustainable development, which is uncritical for like-minded countries, but should by no means serve as a blueprint for all other European FTAs. If we overload FTAs with non-trade issues, such as environmental, climate and human rights aspects, that can be sanctioned, fewer and fewer countries will want to conclude agreements with the EU. Brazilian President Lula has just described EU demands in this area as a "threat" to the Mercosur agreement. But Europe needs partners in all regions of the world to enable fair and smooth trade - especially in the current geopolitically tense times".

A photo of Ulrich Ackermann, Head of VDMA Foreign Trade can be found here.

VDMA represents more than 3600 German and European mechanical and plant engineering companies. The industry stands for innovation, export orientation and SMEs. The companies employ around 3 million people in the EU-27, more than 1.2 million of them in Germany alone. This makes mechanical and plant engineering the largest employer among the capital goods industries, both in the EU-27 and in Germany. In the European Union, it represents a turnover volume of an estimated 770 billion euros. Around 80 percent of the machinery sold in the EU comes from a manufacturing plant in the domestic market.


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