The European Union and New Zealand signed on 3 July 2017 an Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters.
The agreement is aimed to facilitate the movement of goods and to cut the illegal trafficking of goods. These objectives will be implemented in particular through a better coordination of the administrative processes and by facilitating the exchange of information between the customs authorities. It is also positive that the parties agreed the objective to implement a shortened process for a mutual recognition of Secure Traders / Authorized Economic Operators.
Given the fact that the European Union is the second largest trading partner (after Australia) of New Zealand, the agreement is very welcome and a further step towards a free trade agreement between the European Union and New Zealand. The preparatory talks between New Zealand and the European Commission for the free trade agreement negotiations are already finished. As a next step the parties will have negotiations about the specific objectives of the potential free trade agreement. Currently, the European Commission asks the Member States for a negotiating mandate covering the further talks with New Zealand.