While the EU is falling apart, we want a free trade agreement with them

Trade Minister Todd McClay and European Union Trade Commissioner Cecelia Malmstr?m have agreed the completion of joint scoping discussions towards an EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement (FTA) following a meeting in Brussels today.

After almost 2 years of discussion, reaching this significant milestone means the FTA process now enters a new phase, where the Commission and New Zealand will seek respective mandates to commence negotiations.

“Today?s meeting was an important demonstration of our commitment to launch negotiations as soon as possible in 2017,” Mr McClay says.

“New Zealand and the EU both recognise there are substantial benefits to be gained from free trade, and we are now one step closer to a high-quality, comprehensive FTA that can deliver great outcomes for our citizens.”

Mr McClay and Commissioner Malmstr?m also agreed that officials should look at ways to engage the public on trade issues. Mr McClay said the EU undertakes a number of trade events during negotiations which might suit New Zealand.

“With this in mind, I have invited Commissioner Malmstr?m to visit New Zealand later this year. The Commissioner has accepted this invitation,” Mr McClay says.

This could go well or very very badly.

The EU is tearing itself apart over concerns about sovereignty and Brussels empire-building. ?With this as a backdrop, New Zealand is looking to open up markets. ?The problem remains: ?what exactly will we have to sell to get rid of our lamb and dairy products into an already over-supplied European market?

We threw Israel to the wolves to curry favour with the Middle Eastern markets.

I hate to think what our trade negotiators will do to get a share of Europe.