The United Kingdom’s interest in joining the revamped TPP trade deal has sparked calls from National Party members in New Zealand to negotiate work and travel visas between the two countries as part of upcoming Brexit agreements.
The British government has started public consultation on negotiating a trade deal with New Zealand, with the National Party’s foreign affairs and trade spokesperson, Todd McClay, saying that negotiations should also ensure better access for New Zealand workers and tourists to the UK.
“The UK first signalled that New Zealand would be a ‘first cab off the rank’ for a post-Brexit FTA in March of last year,” McClay said. “The government must make the most of the opportunity a trade negotiation presents. In particular it will be important that Kiwis gain better work visa access to the UK, and improved access for agricultural products.”
Minister of Trade and Export Growth, David Parker, told Morning Report it would be natural for the visa suggestions to come up during negotiations, with New Zealand citizens commonly going to the UK for visits and work. However, he ensured reporters that the UK would need to have finalized its terms of departure from the European Union before any agreements could be implemented:
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“It won’t be until they complete their Brexit terms that we know what will be the freedom of movement, if you like, or the freedom of negotiation that they have in their post-brexit relationship in the EU which has flow-on effects for the New Zealand agreement”, he said.
Upon talking with the UK’s Trade Minister, Liam Fox, Parker said CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) was a good deal for countries amid the rise of protectionism, especially given the recent trade measures implemented by the United States and China.
The growing calls from New Zealand for greater visa access to CANZUK countries comes amid the government’s intention to increase relations with Canada, Australia and the UK, and the official opposition’s support for free movement and trade between the CANZUK countries.
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