In 2003, a veterinary agreement to facilitate the trade in live animals and animal products (at the same time for the protection of human and animal health) came into force and was updated in 2015. France is our third individual trading partner in the EU, with imports from France dominating two-way trade. It is also an important source of investment in New Zealand, about half of which is included in manufacturing (particularly in the wine sector). French companies were created or bought in New Zealand, and New Zealand companies do the same in France, focusing on technology (banking and healthcare software, telecommunications) as well as high-end food and beverage products. Major EU countries, including France and the Netherlands, as well as former sceptics such as Germany, have called on the Commission to use trade agreements as leverage to get other countries to meet their Paris climate commitments. The higher the EU emissions reduction targets, the more urgent it is to ensure that EU industries do not compete with imports produced to significantly lower environmental standards, Altmaier said. Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU`s super-commissioner for the economy and trade, agrees. «We agreed that the greatest risk to European industry… Fair competition, which is why the same conditions of competition in our trade policy will be very important,» Dombrovskis said last month at an event with Altmaier. Levelling the conditions of competition should not mean a reduction in our own standards; It`s about taking everyone else to a higher level,» he added.

The Commission has long opposed a change to this approach. In 2019, Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU`s former trade director, told MEPs that reviving the TSD chapters would lead to a «cost price» in the negotiations, as countries would demand something in return if they were to act greener. This was most close to Brussels` admission that trading partners do not need to change their social or green practices because of current trade agreements. Finally, the conclusion of a free trade agreement with the EU is one of New Zealand`s priorities. The second round of negotiations on this agreement took place in Wellington on 8 October 2018. Officials and MEPs say the EU trade agreement with New Zealand, currently under negotiation, will be the first to include the new mechanisms. «We are working to modernize the chapter on sustainable development and the New Zealand government is open to this idea,» said Bernd Lange, chairman of Parliament`s Trade Committee. The plan has recently gained momentum in the EU`s three legislative bodies — the European Commission, Parliament and the Council — and lawmakers now say the upcoming EU-Wellington trade deal will contain more enforceable green rules. Brussels believes that this southern hemisphere agricultural force package is the ideal starting point, as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who returned to power last month with a landslide victory, is already in favour of greener trade deals.