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Leeann Watson01 May 20241 min read

European Free Trade Agreement a game-changer for Canterbury

Business Canterbury (formerly the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce) welcomes today’s commencement of the New Zealand-European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The agreement, which has been highly anticipated by businesses, promises immediate tariff eliminations and new quota opportunities that will boost Canterbury's export revenue significantly over the next five years.

Chief Executive, Leeann Watson says “This agreement is a game-changer for our members and the wider Canterbury business community. It's not just about the immediate financial gains from reduced tariffs, but also about the long-term opportunities for growth and partnership with European markets.”

“The timing of the FTA's entry into force means that Canterbury's horticulture exports will benefit from substantial tariff savings this season, with onion growers expecting $3 million in tariff savings.

“In total, Canterbury should be in line to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in additional export revenue over the next five to seven years, which is perfect timing given the challenging economic conditions we are seeing across the country right now.

“Beyond agriculture, service exporters are now better positioned to compete in the European market, levelling the playing field against competitors from the UK, Singapore, and local businesses.

“The agreement also facilitates the movement of staff and their families into the European market, which is crucial for businesses looking to expand their operations or collaborate internationally.”

Business Canterbury is set up well to support expansion into the European market and has a dedicated Global Trade team ready to assist businesses in taking full advantage of the FTA. More information on our global trade support can be found on the Business Canterbury website.


Leeann Watson

Creating inspirational leadership and a culture of innovation for The Chamber and being a raving enthusiast for the city, region and our business community.