New Zealand has launched negotiations towards a free trade agreement with the countries of the Pacific Alliance (Alianza del Pacifico): Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.

The Pacific Alliance is a free trade area and economic integration initiative established by Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. The bloc is the world’s sixth-largest economy and is home to over 220 million people.

New Zealand has a long-standing relationship with the Alliance and each of its members. We were one of the first to become an observer in 2012.

In 2016, New Zealand exported $722 million worth of goods and services to the region. Dairy products are New Zealand's largest goods export, but services exports such as tourism and education are also growing. Imports from Alliance countries were $455 million.

What are the benefits?

For many New Zealand exporters the Pacific Alliance market has not reached its full potential. In a number of cases this is because New Zealand businesses are not competing on a level playing field with competitors located within the Pacific Alliance or in countries that already have trade deals with the Pacific Alliance.

An example of this is the cost of tariffs on exports to Alliance countries, which currently total around $70 million each year. Businesses in the Pacific Alliance and exporters from some other countries do not have to pay these tariffs. By getting rid of these and other barriers, a free trade agreement will make it easier for New Zealand companies to grow their exports and do business in the region.

Negotiations also provide an opportunity to advance progressive elements in our trade agenda, including labour and environmental standards and protection, climate change cooperation, facilitating SME participation in trade, and gender issues.

A free trade agreement will link New Zealand more closely with Latin America as one of the first countries to become an Associated State of the Pacific Alliance.

What is being discussed?

We expect negotiations will cover many issues that are common to FTAs, as well as some newer progressive elements including:

  • tariffs on goods exports and other regulatory/non-tariff issues that affect trade like customs clearance and other border procedures;
  • trade in services, investment, and outcomes to support digital trade;
  • government procurement;
  • competition policy, intellectual property, and transparency of laws and regulations;
  • labour, environment and cooperation on climate change, gender issues, and wider cooperation activities; and
  • other core elements of an agreement for New Zealand, including the Treaty of Waitangi exception clause.

The existing trade agreement between the Pacific Alliance countries – the Additional Protocol to the Pacific Alliance Framework Agreement – already covers a number of these issues.

Progress to date

Negotiations were launched in June 2017.

The first round of negotiations took place on 23-27 October 2017 in Colombia. Teams from Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Singapore participated in the meeting.

New Zealand was represented by a range of government departments led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. No final agreements were reached and officials were clear that following round one they would be seeking instructions from the new Government on New Zealand’s priorities for the agreement.

Initial exchanges on each area proposed for the agreement took place. A range of text proposals were also discussed, as well as some arrangements for the sharing of market access offers in due course. A fulsome work programme between now and January was agreed.  

The second round of negotiations will take place in January 2018.

Have your say

We are interested to hear from all New Zealanders, including businesses, Māori, non-governmental organisations, and members of the public, on what the priorities should be for this agreement. Your views will help our negotiating team to identify key opportunities that should be pursued, and areas of concern that need to be protected.

This includes hearing about any barriers New Zealand companies have encountered when trading or investing in the Pacific Alliance region.

On 18 September 2017 the then-Minister of Trade called for public submissions, which closed on 16 October. The submissions received in this process will be published on this page in the coming weeks, with the exception of some confidential information.

MFAT usually looks to publish feedback we receive on our website.  Tell us you if you don't want your input to be published.

How to get in touch

  • Email: PacificAllianceFTA@mfat.govt.nz
  • Phone: 0800 824 605
  • Mail: Coordinator, Pacific Alliance FTA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Private Bag 18-901, Wellington

Resources

Minister of Trade calls for submissions on Pacific Alliance free trade agreement (external link)

Pacific Alliance (external link)

Additional Protocol to the Pacific Alliance Framework Agreement [PDF, 3.2 MB]

New Zealand's free trade agreements