What we are negotiating

The principal elements of the resumed negotiations include goods market access, and labour and environment.

On this page

Much of the text of the GCC FTA was substantively agreed in 2009. This includes draft chapters on rules of origin, customs procedures and cooperation, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, services, government procurement, competition, intellectual property, transparency, institutional provisions, dispute settlement, general exceptions and final provisions.

Goods market access

Consistent with New Zealand’s approach to goods market access in every free trade agreement negotiation, we are seeking comprehensive elimination of tariffs on all goods within commercially meaningful timeframes.


New Zealanders place a high value on protecting the natural environment and are increasingly concerned that growing international environmental risks should be addressed through international agreements, including FTAs. 

New Zealand is seeking Environment outcomes in the GCC FTA through:

  • recognising the right of each country to establish its own levels of environmental protection and to regulate accordingly;
  • commitments that the Parties undertake to effectively enforce their environmental laws; commit to not weakening laws in order to secure a trade or investment advantage; and to refrain from using environmental measures for trade protectionism;
  • specific undertakings (including cooperation) on climate change, marine fisheries, biodiversity, conservation, circular economy, environmental goods and services, responsible business conduct, forestry, agriculture, and multilateral environmental agreements;
  • mechanisms that facilitate future cooperation, dialogue and provide a forum for Parties to resolve issues that may arise in the implementation of these commitments.

This approach aims to establish a framework for New Zealand and the GCC countries to undertake cooperation activities that support objectives for sustainable development, including high levels of environmental protection, robust environmental governance, and mutually supportive trade and environmental policies.


New Zealanders recognise that trade is the product of labour, and therefore that trade agreements should take steps to promote decent work, protect labour rights and promote gender equality.

New Zealand is seeking Labour outcomes in the GCC FTA through:

  • New Zealand is seeking Labour outcomes in the GCC FTA that would provide an opportunity to give effect to these principles through: recognising that labour standards should not be used for protectionist trade purposes, and that they should not be weakened or reduced in order to afford trade or investment advantage;
  • a commitment to effectively enforce labour laws in a manner affecting trade or investment between New Zealand and the GCC;
  • requiring Parties to adopt in their laws the four Fundamental Principles of the International Labour Organization Declaration (freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour; the effective abolition of child labour; and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation);
  • committing Parties to adopt and maintain laws which govern acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work, and health and safety;
  • seeking gender equality in the workplace;
  • combatting modern slavery in global supply chains;
  • promoting public awareness of labour laws; and
  • establishing mechanisms that facilitate future cooperation, dialogue and provide a forum for countries to resolve issues that may arise in the implementation of these commitments. In addition, and like a number of other chapters, a Labour Chapter should set out areas for prospective cooperation between the free trade agreement Parties on trade and labour issues, as well as principles to underpin cooperation.


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