The UK’s International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, has said “great progress” was made in the sixth round of discussions between the UK and New Zealand which took place from July 19th – 30th and will potentially pave the way for tariff free trade and mobility between the two nations.
The agreement in-principle, set to be concluded at the end of August, will establish a new relationship between New Zealand and the UK and re-establish trade ties similar to those of pre-1973 when the UK joined the European Economic Community (EEC).
The UK Department for International Trade has said an agreement could remove tariffs on goods, reduce costs for consumers and facilitating access for services and investment across the two nations.
Two-way trade between New Zealand and the UK was worth about $6 billion in 2019, and the British government is now aiming to have 80% of global trade covered by bilateral agreements.
“We made great progress in our trade talks with New Zealand this week,” said Truss, referring to her New Zealand counterpart, Damian O’Connor MP.
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“We’re closing in on an agreement in-principle, with six more chapters now complete. The UK and New Zealand share core values, a long history and a commitment to free trade. I want a modern agreement that pushes new frontiers in areas like green and digital trade.”
Negotiations between the two nations have been reported as cordial and encouraging, with Truss stating that she is “pushing UK interests hard in areas like services, mobility and investment.”
The Department for International Trade also added that a deal with New Zealand would represent an “important step” towards the UK becoming a part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership; a £9 trillion free trade area of 11 Asia-Pacific nations.
The prospect of a trade deal with New Zealand comes after an agreement was struck between Australia and the UK last month, which included provisions for freer movement of citizens, tariff removal and mutual skills recognition – all core components of CANZUK International’s advocacy efforts. As negotiations continue, it is anticipated that a New Zealand – UK trade deal will include similar provisions and provide yet another foundation for the establishment of CANZUK.
CANZUK International will continue to work with British and New Zealand officials to ensure that a comprehensive trade deal between the two nations is finalized shortly and provides scope for developing freer movement of citizens and mutual skills recognition between the two nations.
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