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EU Economics

New Zealand blast ‘unfair’ EU after Brussels tries to STOP them from striking trade deals

THE EU’s hopes of sealing a landmark trade deal with New Zealand have hit a stumbling block after a diplomatic fracas broke out – with officials in New Zealand accusing Brussels of hypocrisy.

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The EU and New Zealand have become embroiled in an unlikely spat in the past week after the ambassador from Brussels hit out at the country for trying to strike a deal with Russia.Last week, New Zealand’s deputy prime minister, Winston Peters, laid out plans to rekindle a near-completed Russian trade deal ahead of a deal with the EU.

This prompted furore from the EU, which threatened to sabotage any future free trade talks between the two countries if New Zealand did not put a stop to talks with Russia.

In response, Mr Peters called out the EU for hypocrisy and said New Zealand businesses had been forced to operate under “unfair” rules.

The EU and New Zealand GETTY

The EU and New Zealand have become embroiled in an unlikely spat in the past week


Bernard Savage, the EU Ambassador, broke with diplomatic protocol last week to attack a clause in New Zealand’s coalition agreement that pledged to revive the free trade talks with the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union.He said any moves towards thawing relations with Russia would be viewed in a “very negative” light and warned of consequences for free trade negotiations

However, Mr Peters shut down the EU’s concerns about New Zealand striking its own trade talks.

He added: “If we’re breaking step, how come there are a number of EU exporters going into Russia now, as I speak?”

Winston PetersGETTY

Winston Peters called out the EU for hypocrisy


German President GETTY

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier Aarrived into New Zealand for high-level meetings


If we’re breaking step, how come there are a number of EU exporters going into Russia now, as I speak?”

Winston Peters

Diplomatic efforts on both sides have tried to repair relations in the past day, with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier arriving into New Zealand for high-level meetings.He said: “If New Zealand wants to negotiate with other countries, that’s fine. It’s up to them to make those decisions.”

The EU embassy in the country refused to make its ambassador available for an interview to local media after the diplomatic fracas.

The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern went out of her way to ease tensions with her counterparts and confirmed that a free-trade deal with the European Union remains a priority.

The European Union is New Zealand’s third-largest trading partner with a total of £10 billion in imports and exports each year, while two-way trade with Russia currently amounts to only £220 million.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/875975/New-Zealand-EU-Brussels-Russia-free-trade-talks-deal-Brexit

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