New Zealand and Australia have long maintained a strong economic and political relationship, and the two countries recently took a significant step to further strengthen that bond. In March 2021, the two countries signed a historic free trade agreement that will eliminate tariffs and other trade barriers between them.

The agreement, known as the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement, or ANZCERTA, was first signed in 1983 and has been updated several times over the years. However, the new agreement, which has been dubbed the «Trans-Tasman Free Trade Agreement,» represents the most significant update yet.

Under the new agreement, tariffs on 97% of goods traded between the two countries will be eliminated immediately, with the remaining 3% being phased out over time. In addition, the agreement includes provisions for increased cooperation in areas such as trade in services, investment, and intellectual property.

The benefits of the new agreement are expected to be significant for both countries. For New Zealand, which relies heavily on exports to Australia, the elimination of tariffs will mean that its products will become more competitive in the Australian market. Meanwhile, for Australia, the agreement will provide access to New Zealand`s highly-skilled workforce and innovative industries.

The agreement has also been praised for its potential to serve as a model for other trade deals. As countries around the world seek to rebuild their economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trans-Tasman Free Trade Agreement offers a blueprint for how countries can work together to promote economic growth and cooperation.

However, the agreement has not been without its critics. Some have raised concerns about its potential impact on workers in industries that may be threatened by increased competition. Others have questioned whether the benefits of the agreement will be evenly distributed between the two countries.

Despite these concerns, the Trans-Tasman Free Trade Agreement represents a significant milestone in the relationship between New Zealand and Australia. As the two countries look towards the future, it is clear that this agreement will play a key role in shaping their economic and political ties in the years to come.