France has reportedly held up free trade talks between the European Union and New Zealand, dampening hopes a deal may be reached in the coming months. The 27 trade ministers of the European Union are set to meet in Brussels and will discuss the trade negotiations including a deal with New Zealand. The Financial Times reported that France has persuaded the EU to delay negotiations with both New Zealand and Chile. Trade Minister Damien O’Connor says the EU leadership has assured New Zealand officials that the EU is keen to get a high quality and comprehensive FTA to a conclusion. But the EU’s offer of market access, or the level of tariffs and quotas that will be placed on New Zealand’s goods at the EU border, is not yet sufficient. Two weeks ago news organisation Bloomberg said France had sought to “freeze” negotiations quoting unnamed officials, saying the French feared a surge in lamb imports from New Zealand.
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