The New Zealand – European Union Free Trade Agreement is here

Article  \  1 May 2024

New Zealand’s free trade agreement with the European Union came into force on 1 May 2024.

With this agreement in place, New Zealand now joins a very short list of trading nations with preferential access to the European market – New Zealand’s fourth largest trading partner. With two-way trade in goods and services worth NZ$20.68b in 2023, this is a favourable change for New Zealand exporters and the 27 European Union nations looking to enter the New Zealand market.

What does this mean for NZ and EU businesses?

From day one, tariffs were removed from 91% of New Zealand exported goods and services to the European Union, and this rises to 97% by 2031. In return, New Zealand has immediately wiped all tariffs on imported goods and services from the European Union.

The free trade agreement contains an expansion of New Zealand’s Geographical Indications (GI) Register to include protection for 23 additional New Zealand wine GI’s, including Marlborough, Central Otago, Waiheke Island and Martinborough. GI’s for agricultural products, foodstuffs and other types of beverages have also been added to the register. Read more about this in our article, Salut! NZ toasts new EU Geographical Indications (and now you can have cheese too!).

IP protection to consider

IP owners in both New Zealand and the European Union should now place protection of those rights in both markets high on the agenda. For New Zealand businesses there are convenient European Union-wide options for protecting trade marks, patents, and designs, and for European businesses looking at the New Zealand market there are options for protecting IP at the national level and via international arrangements to which New Zealand is a party.

New Zealand’s free trade agreement with the European Union will significantly improve access, and cut red tape, for New Zealand exporters of goods and services into the European Union. It will also benefit New Zealand consumers by increasing choice and lowering costs for imported goods and services from European member states.

If you’d like to know more about protecting your IP across New Zealand and the European Union, please get in touch.

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