August 2018 – Edition #2

Highlights

European Union- New Zealand Free trade agreement (FTA)

  • Negotiations were launched on a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU) in June. A first round of negotiations was held in Brussels in July.

Brexit Negotiations

  • The UK Government set out its vision for its post-Brexit relationship with the EU in a White Paper issued on 12 July.
  • In July the UK and EU notified WTO Members of their proposal to split the EU’s current WTO bound tariff rate quotas post Brexit. New Zealand and other quota holders have made clear that this approach would not be acceptable.
  • The UK Government releases a series of papers on the implications of a no deal Brexit. Read these papers. (external link)

United Kingdom and New Zealand Free trade agreement

  • The UK launched domestic consultations on a future free trade agreement with New Zealand on 18 July.  These are open until 26 October.

EU General Data Protection Regulations

  • New European Union general data protection regulations (GDPR) entered into force in May. These regulations establish data protection requirements for companies that either hold or process personal data on people residing in the EU, regardless of their geographic location.

European Union- New Zealand Free trade agreement

Key Developments

  • Negotiations were launched on a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU), during the visit to New Zealand by EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström in June. A first round of negotiations was held in Brussels in July.

What is New Zealand doing?

  • The first round of negotiations was constructive, with early progress made in a range of areas. Both sides are keen to maintain momentum, and a second round of negotiations has been scheduled for October in New Zealand.
  • New Zealand continues to engage with European Commission and Member State stakeholders to build support for the rapid conclusion of negotiations and for agreement on a comprehensive, high quality outcome.
  • Engagement by New Zealand businesses to help maintain and build support for an ambitious outcome remains useful.

Further information for businesses and stakeholders

More information on New Zealand’s objectives and approach to the negotiations, as well as a brief summary of developments in each negotiating round, can be found here.


 United Kingdom and New Zealand Free trade agreement

Key Developments

  • The UK launched domestic consultations on a future free trade agreement with New Zealand on 18 July, which is open until 26 October. This follows earlier statements by the UK government identifying New Zealand, together with the US and Australia, as priorities for negotiating bilateral FTAs following its departure from the EU.
  • The UK is expected to be able to engage in trade negotiations with third parties once it leaves the EU in March 2019. However, it will be unable to ratify or implement any trade agreements in its own right during any transition period that may follow its departure. 

What is New Zealand doing?

  • New Zealand continues to engage the UK through regular political-level engagement and an officials-level trade policy dialogue to lay the groundwork for the launch of bilateral free trade agreement negotiations.
  • New Zealand will also provide input to the UK consultation process.
  • For more information about the public consultation, including how you can make submissions, visit the UK Department of International Trade’s website (external link).

Brexit negotiations

Key Developments

  • The UK Government set out its vision for its post-Brexit relationship with the EU in a White Paper issued on 12 July. The paper envisages the UK departing the European Single Market and the Customs Union, but proposed the establishment of a UK/EU free trade area for all goods, including tariff-free access, avoiding most rules of origin requirements, and establishing a “common rule book” to avoid customs and regulatory checks at the border. The UK Government released a series of papers, with further papers to come, on the implications for UK businesses on a no-deal or hard Brexit. Read these papers. (external link)
  • Following the White Paper’s release, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis resigned their positions, claiming the proposals did not go far enough in removing the UK from the EU.
  • The UK proposal is now the subject of negotiations with the EU. Both the UK and EU are hoping to agree the terms of the UK’s exit and the shape of their future relationship by October this year, to ensure any agreement can be put in place before the UK departs the EU on 29 March 2019. Any agreement is likely to include a transition period through to December 2020, during which the UK would remain in the European single market and customs union.
  • In July the UK and EU notified WTO Members of their proposal to split the EU’s current WTO bound tariff rate quotas post Brexit. New Zealand and other quota holders have made clear that this approach would not be acceptable, as it would reduce exporters’ current access by removing their flexibility to respond to changes in market demand between the UK and the EU27 markets.

What is New Zealand doing?

  • Officials are working hard to secure continuity and stability in the conditions for our trade into the UK and the EU.
  • New Zealand is also active in working to protect its current market access to both the EU and the UK, including with regard to the EU’s WTO tariff rate quotas. We are engaging regularly at all levels with decision-makers in the UK and EU to stress the importance of arriving at an outcome that leaves us no worse off and to put forward alternative solutions to this end. New Zealand will continue to work with both parties and with other affected countries to identify constructive solutions.
  • Good progress has been made in identifying agreements which underpin New Zealand’s trade and other interests with the UK that will be affected by Brexit, and in finding efficient ways to ensure as little disruption as possible to existing arrangements and agreements that may be impacted by Brexit.
  • Officials are also undertaking analysis and contingency planning for a range of scenarios, including the possibility that no deal can be reached between the UK and the EU on the terms of the UK’s exit prior to its departure (precipitating a “hard Brexit”).

Further information for business and stakeholders

Further background information on Brexit can be found here. Contact DM-EUR@mfat.govt.nz for further information.


EU General Data Protection Regulations

Key Developments

  • The EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entered into force in May. The GDPR establishes requirements for organisations that either hold or process personal data on people residing in the EU, regardless of their geographic location. There are stringent penalties for non-compliance.

What is New Zealand doing?

  • All New Zealand organisations that hold or process the personal data of people residing in the EU are affected by the GDPR. Companies may wish to seek advice on the implications of these regulations for their operations.

Further information for businesses and stakeholders

More information on the GDPR can be found on the MFAT and NZTE (external link) websites.