Home Latest News UK-New Zealand begin trade talks on post-Brexit deal

UK-New Zealand begin trade talks on post-Brexit deal

by Jonathan Adams
Brexit deal

Previously, New Zealand’s trading relationship with the UK was managed through the EU

New Zealand and the United Kingdom will start talks on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on Wednesday.

The trade talks have been mooted since the UK voted to leave the European Union, but talks could only begin after the UK formally left the bloc, which only happened on January 31 this year.

Previously, New Zealand’s trading relationship with the UK was managed through the EU.

New Zealand began negotiating an FTA with the EU in 2018.

Trade Minister David Parker said New Zealand was pleased to be among the first countries to begin negotiations with the UK.

As the UK embarks on its next steps post-Brexit, New Zealand is pleased to be among the first countries to negotiate a trade agreement with one of our oldest friends, Parker said.

We look forward to an FTA that opens up more opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses, Māori exporters, and our regional communities, consistent with our Trade for All objectives, he said.

In the post Brexit environment, it makes more sense than ever for us to be working together to grow this partnership for the future, he said.

The UK is New Zealand’s sixth-largest trading partner with two-way trade totalling more than $6 billion last year.

The trade agreement won’t address the dispute over quota access for goods to the UK and EU post-Brexit. New Zealand wants to protect its existing access to both the UK and the EU, after the UK left the bloc.

These are being addressed at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva and New Zealand doesn’t see an FTA as the way to resolve the standoff.

As the global economy continues to be severely impacted by the effects of Covid-19, we are more committed than ever to concluding a bilateral FTA capable of delivering significant benefits to the people of both New Zealand and the UK, Parker said.

UK High Commissioner Laura Clarke said the agreement would help “set the tone” for the UK’s post-Brexit trade policy.

The UK will be conducting simultaneous negotiations with the EU over its future trading relationship with that bloc. These negotiations will likely complicate New Zealand’s talks with the UK.

Both sides underscored their commitment to achieving an early conclusion to a high quality, comprehensive and inclusive trade agreement.

The trade agreement would seek to eliminate tariffs on trade and develop new approaches to non-tariff barriers. These are rules and regulations that make it costly to export to another country, like differing food and quality standards.

The trade agreement will also try to break new ground on free trade supporting sustainable development and climate change.

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