Political & economic relations
An Overview of European Union - New Zealand Relations
Framework for the Relationship
Since July 2012, New Zealand and the EU have been negotiating a formal Framework Agreement, which will contain a number of economic and trade cooperation provisions. Negotiations are ongoing.
Currently the EU and New Zealand collaborate under the Joint Declaration on Relations and Cooperation, an overarching political agreement which governs and directs the activity between the two partners. The Joint Declaration was signed on 21st September 2007 and sets out a detailed action programme for the EU and New Zealand in such areas as global and regional security, counter-terrorism and human rights, visas, development and economic cooperation, trade, climate change as well as science and technology. The Joint Declaration also underlines the importance of closer co-operation to further facilitate people-to-people links and to encourage exchanges in education. In 2009, progress under the Joint Declaration [2 MB] was outlined.
The EU and New Zealand have also negotiated a number of agreements designed to facilitate access to each other’s markets and reduce exporters’ costs. Notable examples include agreements on veterinary standards, horizontal air transport and mutual recognition of standards and certification. Consultations on trade, agriculture, fisheries and science at officials' level take place every year alternating between Brussels and Wellington. Consultations and information exchanges also take place in areas such as climate change, development assistance and humanitarian aid.
The EU and New Zealand have a number of common goals. Both support democracy, the rule of law and human rights; as well as multilateral organisations such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). They also have shared interests in tackling key global challenges such as climate change, sustainable development and preserving the environment. The EU and New Zealand have both committed themselves to working closely together with the aim of promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. In particular, both have a shared interest in maintaining strong relationships with the countries of the Pacific. The EU is an active player in the geographical area, and is the second largest donors in the Pacific region.
The EU and New Zealand have a strong relationship in research, science and technology guided by the Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement, which entered into force in January 2009. There are a number of other policy areas where the EU and New Zealand work towards joint goals. These include education, fisheries, transport, global security and the free movement of people - all of which are addressed in the Joint Declaration.
The EU and New Zealand engage in regular political dialogue, including consultations at ministerial level between the EU and New Zealand, and consultations as appropriate between officials of both sides to cover relevant aspects of the relationship.
While the EU remains an important trading partner for New Zealand, New Zealand's trade focus is increasingly on the countries of the Asia-Pacific rim. The EU is New Zealand's third largest trading partner, after China and Australia, accounting for 12.6% of its total trade (Australia 18.2%, China 15.5%). On the opposite side New Zealand ranks only 54th as trading partner for the EU accounting for 0.2% of aggregated EU trade in 2012.
While the United Kingdom remains New Zealand's first export destination in the EU, other countries, such as Germany and Nederland, have become more important. In 2012, over 73.3% of EU imports from New Zealand were primary products for a total of NZ$3.3 million, and 24.4% manufactures (NZ$1.1 million); while 87.6% (NZ$6.4 million) of EU exports were manufactures and only 8.2% (NZ$690,000) primary product
In the year 2012 the EU invested NZ$8.8billion in NZ representing the third larger investor in the country after Australia and the US, while New Zealand invested NZ$2.4billion in the EU. Despite the repositioning of New Zealand economy toward the Asian markets, the EU remain a stable figure of New Zealand's economy providing stable demand for high quality products and producing a reliable source of investment.
Most economical transactions take place under the agreements of the Joint Declaration on Relations and Cooperation. The EU and New Zealand have also negotiated a number of agreements designed to facilitate access to each other's markets and reduce exporters' costs. Among the most relevant:
The Veterinary Agreement facilitates trade in live animals and animal products while safeguarding public and animal health and meeting consumer expectations in relation to the wholesomeness of food products. The agreement also reduces regulatory duplication. It was provisionally applied since January 1997 and became official on 1 February 2003. New and existing requirements of each party to the agreement are subject to a consultation process. A Joint Management Committee has been established to cover all aspects of the Agreement.
The Mutual Recognition Agreement (1999) facilitates trade in industrial products between the EU and New Zealand. It covers exchanges estimated at more than €500 million in sectors such as medical devices, pharmaceutical goods, and telecommunications terminal equipment. A parallel agreement was also signed with Australia. These agreements are the first Mutual Recognition Agreements the EU has ever signed with a third country.
|GDP in New Zealand (2012)||136,137 million NZ$|
|EU merchandise exports to New Zealand (2012)||2.9 billion €|
|EU merchandise imports from New Zealand (2012)||4.1 billion €|
|EU service exports to New Zealand (2012)||1.5 billion €|
|EU service imports from New Zealand (2012)||1.1 billion €|
|EU direct investment inflows from New Zealand (2012)||1.4 billion €|
|EU direct investment outflows to New Zealand (2012)||5.3 billion €|
Since the mid-1600s, with the Dutch Abel Tasman expeditions, and the late-1700s when Captain Cook first mapped New Zealand's coast, New Zealand's relationship with Europe has been integral to the country's political and social development. New Zealand's strongest European ally throughout this period of growth was, of course, Britain. The relationship remained tight until Britain joined the European Community in 1973, and still today the UK remains New Zealand strongest ally in EU political matters.
Essential lines of official communication were established between New Zealand and the then European Community in 1960 when a New Zealand Ambassador was accredited to Brussels and the European Commission.
The need and merit of regular informal and flexible meetings between New Zealand and the European Community soon became evident and since 1975 have been convened regularly. These meetings allow the political leaders to discuss the state of the relationship and share information on international developments of mutual interest in a free and frank manner. New proposals or ideas are often discussed and then, the respective officials given a mandate to examine and report back.
Reinforcing the ministerial dialogue are periodic visits to New Zealand by EU Commissioners and, of course, visits to Brussels by New Zealand Ministers. In 2011, José Manuel Barroso made the first visit by a President of the European Commission to New Zealand in over 20 years.
In May 1996 the relationship between the EU and New Zealand reached a considerable turning point when New Zealand's Foreign Minister of the time, Don McKinnon, called "for some overarching agreement or arrangement with the EU to tie in our various consultations arrangements". Considerable thought in the ensuing years was given to the nature of such an agreement. Three years later, in 1999, the text of the Joint Declaration on Relations between the European Union and New Zealand was signed in Strasbourg. This concrete sign of the deepening of the relationship paved the way for closer cooperation on a broad range of issues. More notably, it provides a solid basis for enhanced political and security cooperation with regard to the Asia-Pacific region, an area where both the EU and New Zealand have a strong interest to ensure stability and prosperity.
The European Union's Delegation in Canberra was accredited to New Zealand in 1984. Following the New Zealand Government's invitation, the EU opened a Delegation in Wellington in May 2004. The Delegation keeps the European Union institutions abreast of significant happenings in New Zealand and facilitates the operation and development of bilateral cooperation. The current Chargé d'Affaires is Michaelis Rokas.
Following their discussion at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully and the EU's High Representative/Vice President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton, agreed to seek a mandate for a Framework Agreement to upgrade the status of the relationship. Negotiations started in 2012.
Given their shared interests and common approach, the European Union and New Zealand consult and cooperate with each other in on matters of joint concern such as climate change, development assistance, trade and investment liberalisation, scientific research and shared humanitarian aid.