15 Oct 2015

Trans-Tasman trade deal top of EU's wishlist

8:28 am on 15 October 2015

The European Union says it wants a free trade deal with New Zealand.

The EU Commission has issued its trade strategy for the next four years, and reaching free trade agreements with New Zealand and Australia are among its priorities.

The Commission said it would seek a mandate from the EU's 28 members to start the process for negotiations towards a deal.

New Zealand has piecemeal trade agreements with some European Union members and access for some agricultural produce is also regulated, but there has never been one overall, comprehensive agreement.

The EU is New Zealand's third biggest trading partner, with two-way trade last year worth $18.9 billion, but the bloc has a population of about 500 million, making opportunities potentially numerous and lucrative.