Huge benefits for agriculture if Jacinda Ardern-European Union negotiations succeed

Delicate negotiations are underway in Brussels where the Prime Minister is trying to secure a free trade agreement that could be worth billions of dollars to New Zealand.

Like every free trade negotiation New Zealand has, getting the best deal for dairy, beef, lamb and other agriculture products for Kiwi exporters is extremely important and it's no different when it comes to the European Union.

The European Union's website says the collection of nations will seek to get some exemptions for their own agricultural sector.

A quote from the website reads: "The EU does not envisage full liberalisation of trade in sensitive agricultural areas," and it says the EU will seek specific treatment for them.

Asked in Brussels how this will affect Kiwi exporters, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern didn't give much of a response.

"The whole point of a free trade agreement is to get greater access for your goods and services - all of your goods and services," she said.

Asked if she could give a reassurance to agriculture exporters in New Zealand that it will be a good deal for them, she said "absolutely".

"This is the whole point of this negotiation. We will be driving towards a high-quality free trade agreement."

It's currently relatively easy for the producers of EU agricultural products to sell their products into the New Zealand market, but it isn't reciprocal.

So the big challenge for Jacinda Ardern when she meets EU leaders - including European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Junker - is to ensure there are no big concessions and that there is no protectionism.

But that's easier said than done. This is the European Union, after all - the home of bureaucracy, with enough red tape to stretch all the way to New Zealand and back.

If Jacinda Ardern and the negotiation team can pull this off, the benefits for New Zealand will be in the billions of dollars.