[23 May/Stuff]

The New Zealand Europe Business Council said a free-trade deal between the EU and New Zealand could boost exports by $2 billion a year and save New Zealanders hundreds of millions of dollars a year in cheaper imports. Its president, Franck Olssen, forecasted an agreement could be produced in two years. He noted it was unrealistic to expect tariff-free trade for all agricultural products. NZ International Business Forum Chairman, Malcolm Bailey, said concessions that the EU was likely to demand could include more food labelling rules to protect European regional brands. He added that while New Zealand had the most to gain from reducing tariffs, the EU would be focused on all of the things that come with trade agreements. Beef + Lamb NZ Chief Executive, Sam McIvor, said red meat exports to the EU were $1.8 billion in the previous year despite paying $53 million in tariffs.