Politics

New Zealand received 'very mediocre deal' in EU free trade agreement

Geoffrey Miller is an International Analyst with the Democracy Project and joins us each Monday morning to discuss geopolitical issues and news.

Miller told Trudi Nelson on Monday morning that New Zealand got a 'very mediocre deal' in its free trade agreement with the European Union."

"The best you could say is that if you are a kiwifruit grower or an apple grower you will be happy with that free trade deal," said Miller.

He went on to explain the major industries like dairy and meat got dealt a significantly more disappointing hand.

"What you've got is quite small quotas in the orders of tens of thousands, at best, still often with tariffs. These are out of million-tonne markets in Europe when it comes to the likes of butter, cheese and beef."

He explained these sectors collectively represent around 40 percent of New Zealand's total exports.

Miller told Trudi if negotiations continued and NZ didn't settle for this initial deal, a better one could have been made.

"I think if they had kept negotiating for another year or two they may have got something better because the geopolitical winds very much are blowing in New Zealand's favour."

Overall, he said Ardern's presence at the NATO Summit and her trip, in general, went down very well.

NZ's biggest trading partner China was not happy with the Prime Minister aligning herself with the West's premier military alliance as they are very anti-NATO and anti alliances.

However, Miller described the criticism as 'a bit milder than we might have thought' and said they have extended an olive branch to some extent by not coming down too hard on New Zealand.

"I think they really want to see a bit more dialogue from New Zealand's side."

"She said at the opening of her speech to NATO that New Zealand was not here to expand its military alliances, I think China and Beijing will take that as a win."

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta is scheduled to head to Fiji for a preparatory meeting ahead of the Leaders Summit next week.

Miller told Trudi the West are looking to respond to China, who signed a security deal with the Solomon Islands back in April 2022 alongside several other smaller deals.

"In the background, you've got the West trying to cook up an alternative plan, an alternative deal and this is their chance to really put that to Pacific leaders and hopefully bring them over to their side."

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Listen to the full interview between International Analyst with the Democracy Project Geoffrey Miller and Trudi Nelson above.