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Trade deal needs to protect consumer rights

Consumer NZ is calling for consumer interests to be safeguarded in any trade agreement between the EU and New Zealand.

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Negotiations for an EU-NZ trade agreement are about to start. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström is visiting New Zealand this week.

Ahead of negotiations, Consumer NZ and The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) have written to Commissioner Malmström and Trade Minister David Parker calling for them to ensure the trade deal protects consumers and delivers benefits.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin says the organisations want consumer interests placed at the heart of the agreement.

“We want the deal to include a chapter setting out the consumer protection objectives that both trade partners must meet,” Ms Chetwin says.

The groups have developed a “Consumer Checklist” for the trade agreement. As well as preserving high levels of consumer protection, the checklist calls for the deal to:

  • Ensure reduced prices and wider choices: Both parties must commit to monitoring markets to ensure cost reductions for companies are shared fairly with consumers.
  • Provide tangible benefits to consumers: The agreement should also deliver easy access to redress if something goes wrong with a purchase and reduce geo-blocking practices.
  • Provide a high level of transparency: Transparency is a precondition for people to trust trade agreements. Negotiating positions and texts should be published and negotiators should communicate with the public on the content of the agreement.

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