Negotiations on a New Zealand, European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA) concluded in the early hours of this morning and New Zealand seafood is set to gain $20 million in tariff reductions.

Almost all fish and seafood will have an immediate tariff elimination and Seafood New Zealand chief executive, Jeremy Helson, says at a time when the industry is doing it tough, this is welcome news.

For seafood, 99.5 percent of New Zealand’s current fish and seafood trade will enter the EU tariff-free from day one, increasing to 99.9 percent within five years, and 100 percent within seven years, with tariff savings of $19.6 million per annum. Tariffs will be eliminated at entry into force on almost all fish, and mussels, squid and other shellfish.

“Seafood New Zealand would like to thank the negotiators, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and Trade and Export Growth Minister, Damien O’Connor for getting this agreement over the line.”

The NZ-EU FTA has been in negotiations for seven years and is more valuable to New Zealand than the recently agreed NZ-UK FTA. It will deliver $100 million in tariff savings per annum from day one.

“This agreement is the boost that New Zealand’s primary sector has been desperate for and couldn’t have come at a better time for the seafood industry,” says Helson.

“New Zealand seafood exports are currently at $1.9 billion per year and the agreement with the EU will considerably increase those earnings.

“The impact of this deal will be felt right across the sector, from large companies to small family-run fishing businesses.

“The sector has been waiting for good news and this agreement delivers,” says Helson.

The agreement is expected to be signed in 2023.