The government of New Zealand is seeking views about its upcoming free trade agreement with the UK and has issued a call for written submissions from members of the general public.
UK International Trade Secretary, Dr. Liam Fox, welcomed the announcement, stating that it will help ensure trade talks begin with New Zealand soon after the UK leaves the European Union on March 29th, 2019.
New Zealand’s Trade and Export Minister, David Parker, also emphasised that the UK is one of New Zealand’s “oldest friends” and that “a trade deal makes a lot of sense”. He added that both countries have similar legal structures and he expects a high quality and comprehensive free trade agreement can be agreed.
New Zealand is now the second country to launch a consultation about a new free trade agreement with the UK. The US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, launched a request for comments last week.
Speaking at a press release, Dr. Liam Fox stated:
“New Zealand is one of our closest and greatest friends. With our deep shared heritage and unwavering commitment to free and fair trade, it is only right that New Zealand is one of the first countries that we will strike a new trade agreement with after we leave the European Union.”
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In response, David Parker also stated:
“The UK is one of New Zealand’s oldest friends, and a free trade agreement makes a lot of sense. Our shared history, similar legal structures and openness to trade mean a high quality, comprehensive and progressive free trade agreement is a natural next step after Brexit. Both New Zealand and the UK have committed to launching negotiations as soon as the UK is in a position to do so.”
The trade of goods between the UK and New Zealand was worth £2.72 billion last year, with British exports increasing by 10% on 2016. A new free trade agreement is expected to further increase this trade, creating jobs and giving consumers more choice at lower prices.
The UK Department for International Trade has already held four public consultations on new free trade agreements with the US, Australia and New Zealand, as well as potential accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Previous talks have also focused on increased migration arrangements between the CANZUK countries, after the New Zealand government indicated interest in Canada and the UK joining the current Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement, and Ministers in Wellington calling for greater visa and work-permit access as part of upcoming Brexit negotiations.
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