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New Zealand signs free trade agreement with the European Union

The free trade agreement with the European Union (EU) gives New Zealand firms the opportunity to bid for EU government contracts.

Most media coverage of this agreement highlights the immediate benefits for exporters. They'll save on goods tariffs and get support to grow and diversify. But this agreement also gives New Zealand firms the chance to bid for contracts in the significant EU government market. The agreement has provisions for government procurement. These provisions acknowledge that procurement can advance environmental and social policies, like New Zealand's progressive procurement policy. They enable government agencies to choose suppliers with ethical business practices. They also enable agencies to respect international standards around labour and human rights. In short, this agreement specifically recognises New Zealand’s broader outcomes approach.

Government agencies across New Zealand may be asking – why should this matter to us?

As a small island nation a long way from everywhere, trade is crucial for the New Zealand economy. Roughly 1 in 4 jobs in New Zealand comes from exporting, and exporting firms grow and prosper faster. Government procurement represents between 12 to 18% of gross domestic product (GDP) in most countries. This channels a significant amount of money to the private sector. So, exporters being able to bid for government contracts represents great opportunity.

Laurence Pidcock, General Manager, NZGP says, “We should all take an interest in using government procurement to support New Zealand businesses to grow and be globally competitive. We can do this by having competitive procurement processes, building in broader outcomes where it is appropriate, and insisting on integrity throughout the supply chain. We can give our firms a positive track record and ensure they are “match fit” and win lucrative government contracts overseas.”

For more information, visit the New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) website.

New Zealand-European Union Free Trade Agreement – New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade

Alternatively, email the Procurement team.