EU FTA talks said to have threatened Zespri's single-seller status

Government ministers, officials and some industry experts have dismissed claims that New Zealand should have walked away from the EU FTA talks because the deal was not up to expectations. Sources claim that there was a risk that the EU would have demanded that Zespri's single-desk seller status be dismantled, at huge expense and disruption to NZ. This had apparently been raised early on in the talks, but strongly rejected by NZ. However, there were fears that the EU may try to bring it up again.

There were also concerns about the EU wanting to impose what is known as 'patent term extensions' for agricultural chemicals, meaning NZ growers would have been forced to use European patented chemicals instead of being able to use generic brands. They were also targeting generic medicines, all of which could have cost millions of NZ dollars.

The apparent rush to get a deal was based on the fast-moving political situation in Europe, with the rise of right wing and green groups who are anti-free trade. As it stands, European farmer organization COPA has made clear its opposition to the FTA saying for them the deal is painful and compromises their 'sensitive' sectors.


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