A newly reached trade agreement between the EU and New Zealand "sends a strong signal" of joint commitment to free-trade.
That's according to the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, who welcomed the news alongside the Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy, on Friday (July 1).
The agreement has been described as the most modern text the EU has agreed to date with strong environmental and sustainability commitments contained within.
The Tánaiste said, "This Agreement reflects our joint ambition to offer new market opportunities to businesses and farmers on both sides, while reinforcing our joint commitment to sustainable trade.
"The increase in New Zealand’s access to the EU market for agricultural products has been limited through the use of quotas and the most sensitive products have not been fully liberalised to protect the interests of EU producers.
"I welcome the fact that Irish food and drink producers will have unfettered access to the NZ market with no tariffs, and that the special status of Irish products such as Irish Whiskey and Irish Cream liqueur are included in the final agreement. Tariffs will still apply to food imports to the EU above a certain quota."
Tanaiste Varadkar called New Zealand "a like-minded country".
He continued: "This agreement will not only secure economic gains for both sides but with also promote strong actions to protect the climate, the environment and workers’ rights.
I’m particularly happy to see the provisions on gender equality. This is the first time ever a trade agreement has had commitments on maximising the benefits of trade for women, by promoting opportunities for women and entrepreneurs and gender equal working conditions, and by increasing women’s influence in the negotiation and implementation of trade agreements.
"This is something I wrote to Commissioner Dombvroskis on as negotiations were underway and I’m really happy to see it included. It’s something PM Ardern and I spoke about when we met in New York several years ago."
According to Minister Troy, the free-trade agreement will provide "important market diversification opportunities" for Irish exporters.
He said, "As a small open economy, Ireland’s future success is predicated on its ability to trade goods and services with our partners across the globe. Last year we achieved our best year yet in trade and this has huge benefits for our economy and our society."
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