New Zealand's free trade deal will help 'decrease cost of living'

New Zealand's groundbreaking free trade deal with the European Union (EU) is being hailed as a "big deal" and one that could decrease the cost of living crisis.

The deal, which was signed in Belgium overnight, is expected to increase exports by $1.8 billion annually.

Trade Minister Damien O'Connor said it will provide new opportunities to several sectors, increase trade by 30 percent and EU investment in New Zealand by 80 percent.

Eventually, 97 percent of New Zealand's current exports to the EU will be duty-free, with more than 91 percent of tariffs removed the day the deal comes into effect.

There will be immediate tariff elimination for all kiwifruit, wine, onions, apples, mānuka honey and manufactured goods, as well as for almost all fish and seafood, and other horticultural products.

European Union's ambassador to New Zealand believes the free-trade deal will see prices drop for goods coming to Aotearoa from Europe, which will help ease the cost of living crisis.

"Prices are likely to come down as a consequence of this deal, so we hope to contribute to decreasing the cost of living with this deal also in New Zealand and in the European Union as well," EU Ambassador to New Zealand Nina Obermaier told AM on Monday.

Obermaier, who was in the room when the deal was struck, said while the agreement is being celebrated by most, some groups aren't 100 percent happy with it.

"I acknowledge that New Zealand beef and dairy farmers would have liked more access to the European market," she said.

"Our (EU) farmers would have liked less access and I believe we've struck the right balance, when it comes to New Zealand's current goods exports to the European Union, 91 percent of all goods will have tariff-free access as of day one of entry into force. This increases to 97 percent."

One group that is celebrating the deal is the New Zealand honey industry.

Apiculture New Zealand said it welcomed the signing of the agreement, which takes the sector one step closer to the removal of tariffs on all New Zealand honey into the European Union.

"We are thrilled the agreement also includes the definition of mānuka and a separate tariff recognising the inherent distinctiveness of mānuka as a taonga species exclusively from Aotearoa New Zealand," says Karin Kos, chief executive of Apiculture New Zealand.

"The EU's recognition of mānuka as a taonga species is significant in helping progress the next step in securing geographical indications for mānuka honey, an initiative that is strongly supported by both industry and iwi."

The EU is an important market for New Zealand honey exporters Kos said, but the current in-quota tariff rate of 17.3 percent has been a significant barrier to trade.

"The tariff will come off mānuka honey as soon as the agreement comes into force. All remaining New Zealand honeys will see the tariff removed after three years and this will help their competitiveness in the market," Kos said.