New Zealand Is Upgrading Its Trade Deal With ASEAN And Australia

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On Monday, at the close of the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the Second ASEAN Global Dialogue on Post-Covid-19 Comprehensive Recovery, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern upgraded a trade agreement with ASEAN and Australia.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated that New Zealand’s new free trade agreement with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia is expected to be signed and entered into force in 2023.

“The current global economic conditions are impacting all over the world. To secure our economic future, it is essential that we have high-quality, modern free trade agreements in place,” she said.

The upgrade to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA not only strengthens our trading relationship with ASEAN but also reduces red tape and costs for businesses while providing New Zealanders with greater economic security, as noted by the Prime Minister.

New Zealand’s trade with ASEAN has boomed in recent years.

In 2021, New Zealand exported a total of NZ$7 billion ($4 billion) of goods and services to the 10 ASEAN countries, equating to almost 10 per cent of New Zealand’s exports.

“New Zealand has historically exported much more to ASEAN than it imported. However, we now see that trade balance slowly reversing, with imports growing faster,” said the Prime Minister.

“As trade conditions evolve, keeping our FTA up to date is vital to ensure these agreements continue meeting the needs of New Zealand businesses and consumers.”

The upgrade to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA builds on the benefits of the existing agreement. It improves market access for businesses, particularly in services, government procurement and financial services.

New Zealand’s Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Hon Damien O’Connor, said that upgrading would substantially increase tariff reductions ahead of schedule, providing more certainty for Kiwi exporters.

“Our government is committed to opening new markets and upgrading existing FTAs so that we continue to have access to dynamic economies in the region,” he stated.

The upgrade also responds to changing economic conditions such as digital developments, e-commerce and financial services. This will benefit consumers and businesses by making the agreement more modern and inclusive.

“The upgrade to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA will support economic growth for all parties, providing opportunities for our businesses and consumers in future.”

The EAS is crucial for addressing Asia’s political and security challenges. The Second ASEAN Global Dialogue on Post-Covid-19 Comprehensive Recovery was held as part of the EAS to discuss how ASEAN plans to rebuild after the Covid-19 pandemic.

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