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New Zealand seals the deal with Europe

Published:  01 July, 2022

New Zealand has signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU in a deal which largely mirrors the UK’s own NZ FTA.

In March this year, the UK and New Zealand, home to Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and the eighth biggest country of origin by volume in the UK, signed a deal which would remove tariffs and bureaucratic barriers for trade.

Now, the EU has penned largely the same deal, with the removal of tariffs to the bloc estimated to save wine growers NZD $5.5million annually.

“Our understanding is that the agreement is positive for winegrowers exporting to the EU,” said Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.

“It will help remove technical barriers to trade, and reduce burdens from certification and labelling requirements in a dedicated Wine Annex. It will also support future growth in the market, and encourage exporters to focus on the EU.”

The EU is a significant export market for New Zealand wine, with over 20 million litres of wine exported, valued at over $150 million, over the past 12 months.

The UK, by contrast, is New Zealand’s second largest export market for wine, with exports valued at over $400 million over the past 12 months, making it more valuable than the entirety of the EU and its member states.

Speaking of the EU agreement, Gregan added that the market’s complex rules can make “access difficult for winegrowers, so it is encouraging to see some easing of restrictions in this area.”

The parties have also agreed to protect each other’s geographical indications (GIs). New Zealand’s GIs for wine (such as Marlborough, Central Otago and Hawke’s Bay) will be protected in the EU for the first time. Some historic wine names such as port and sherry will be phased out in New Zealand over time, as they have been in many other countries that have entered into free trade agreements with the EU.