“It’s clear that we need to diversify away from Russia … (and) look for new markets, supply chains and so on, and that’s exactly what this deal is contributing as well,” Dombrovskis told reporters.
The agreement will remove tariffs on several products and be the first that the EU met to include potential sanctions for breaches of environmental or labor standards, a concept it only proposed last week.
Tariffs will fall on EU exports, such as clothing, chemicals, medicines and cars, as well as wine and confectionery. The EU will increase its New Zealand beef quota by 10,000 tonnes, a sensitive area in particular for France, and increase volumes of lamb, butter and cheese.
The agreement can enter into force in 18-24 months, depending on the approval of the European Parliament and the EU governments, a process that has sometimes taken several years.