New Zealand Trade Minister, Todd McClay, is confident a deal with the United Kingdom will be struck reasonably quickly once it leaves the European Union.
Mr McClay has met his British counterpart, Lord Price, who said negotiations with the EU started last week and could take up to two years.
New Zealand is the third largest investor in the UK and there is around $3 billion worth of trade flowing between the two countries.
Mr McClay said the trade ministers would now meet annually.
“This will lay the foundations for us to very quickly be able to do the work that we need to, including scoping studies, once the UK has left the European Union.
“And again I’d like to see us strike a deal within a few years, two or three would be an optimal period of time, although that will take a lot of hard work on both sides.”
Mr McClay said both countries had a lot in common, which made negotiations easier.
New Zealand’s confidence in establishing a free trade deal with the UK comes after a previous declaration by Mr McClay that Australia and New Zealand would be first in line for signing a new deal once Brexit negotiations have concluded.
It is also very likely that such trade deals will include provisions for visa liberalisation – leading to freer movement – between the countries, as special passport arrangements are already being discussed between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
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