New Zealand is an open economy and depends heavily on international trade. The EU is New Zealand's third-largest trading partner, and the second largest source of FDI in New Zealand.
Recent years have seen major challenges to the rule-based international trade system. The European Union and New Zealand are deeply committed to strong international trade rules. A rules-based system helps to prevent unwanted and unexpected surprises at the border, such as when goods are denied entry or extra costs applied. It also means the EU and New Zealand will work hard to reconcile any disagreements over trade that may arise. This is particularly beneficial to an exposed export-oriented economy like New Zealand.
Exports of goods and services account for around 54% of New Zealand's GDP. Its principal export industries are agriculture, horticulture, fishing, forestry and mining, which make up about half of the country's exports. Its major export partners are Australia, China, and the EU. The service sector is the largest sector in the entire domestic economy, followed by manufacturing and construction, and then farming and raw mineral extraction. Tourism plays a significant role in New Zealand's economy, earning NZ$9.6 billion or 15.4% of New Zealand's foreign exchange earnings, and contributing almost 9% of New Zealand's GDP.
New Zealand has negotiated a number of preferential trade agreements including an FTA with China (2008), the first such agreement China has signed with a developed country. Other agreements include Australia (1983), Thailand (2005), Singapore (2001), and Hong Kong (2011). New Zealand was also one of the four founding members of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement ("P4") launched in 2005, with Brunei, Chile and Singapore. This agreement was expanded as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by including Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United States, Vietnam, and Japan. The new TPP agreement was signed in February 2016 in Auckland. Following the withdrawal of the United States from the TPP, the agreement was revised and signed by the remaining 11 signatories in 2017 as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). New Zealand is participating in the negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a preferential trade agreement that brings together the 10 ASEAN Member States and their FTA partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand): a total of 16 partners. New Zealand is also currently negotiating with members of the Pacific Alliance, which includes Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.
Trade in goods
In the year ended March 2018, the EU was ranked as New Zealand's third-largest trading partner in goods (after China and Australia), New Zealand being the EU's 50th largest partner. Total trade in goods between the EU and New Zealand amounted to around €9bn (NZ$15.5). New Zealand's exports to the EU are largely dominated by agricultural products, while EU's exports to New Zealand are focused on manufactured goods.
Over the years there have been numerous agreements between the EU and New Zealand designed to improve and ease trade. Agreements may be sector specific (meat) or thematic (mutual recognition).
Trade in services
The total trade in commercial services between the EU and New Zealand amounted to around €6.6 billion (NZ$ 6.7bn) for year ended March 2018.
- EU commercial services exports to New Zealand: NZ$3.1 billion (year ended March 2018)
- EU commercial service imports from New Zealand : NZ$3.6 billion ( year ended March 2018)
Foreign Direct Investment
For the year ended December 2017, the EU was the second largest source of FDI in New Zealand after Australia and ahead of the US. FDI from the EU accounted for around 11% of investment into New Zealand. Australia accounted for 52 % of FDI to New Zealand while the US contributed around 8%.
- EU foreign direct investment stocks in New Zealand: NZ$11.9 billion as at December 2017
- NZ foreign direct investment stocks in the EU: NZ$3.1 billion as at December 2017