[Source: NZ Herald]
After four years of often torturous negotiations, New Zealand and the European Union have agreed a free trade deal.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who helped conclude negotiations in Brussels said it would help grow exports to the European Union by $1.8 billion a year by 2035.
Ardern had played down hopes of a deal earlier this week, saying she was “very willing to come away from Europe without final conclusion” if it did not offer significant market access.
But around midday Brussels time, final talks were concluded by New Zealand’s chief negotiator Vangelis Vitalis and trade minister Damien O’Connor, just hours before Ardern was scheduled to leave Brussels for London.
“Despite many challenges, we got there, and today we deliver an agreement that represents improved trade opportunities for our exporters,” Ardern said, as she announced the deal with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
A full 91 per cent of tariffs will be eliminated on the day the agreement comes into force, with 97 per cent eliminated by the seventh year.