New Zealand’s Trade Minister, Damien O’Connor, visited the UK this week to finalize provisions for the upcoming trade deal between the two nations.
The New Zealand Minister’s trip occurred en route to the G20 Ministers Summit in Italy with the hopes of ironing out remaining trade issues with the United Kingdom.
O’Connor travelled to the UK in June to negotiate the free trade agreement, with both countries settling on a deadline for reaching an “agreement in principle” in August. However, this deadline was missed as negotiations continued.
“Secretary Truss and I set that deadline, and kept the pressure on, we made good progress,” said O’Connor. “We missed the deadline because both of us agreed that it’s better to have a substantive trade agreement with benefits for both parties, [than] to rush for an arbitrary deadline.”
However, both the UK and New Zealand are now hopeful that the remaining details of the agreement can be finalised in the coming weeks.
“There have been a huge number of meetings done,” said O’Connor. With a lot of trade negotiations, it comes down to some really tricky issues. Last time I visited, we were able to progress a number of those issues. We’re back into that situation again now; we believe that’s necessary to go and travel.”
The UK government have already stated that trade discussions will include provisions for increased mobility of citizens, and will potentially include mutual skills recognition for skilled professionals – similar to the finalized UK and Australia trade agreement which is scheduled to be signed next month.
Polling from the UK has also revealed public support for including free movement provisions with New Zealand as part of the upcoming trade deal.
CANZUK International is delighted with the UK and New Zealand governments continuing discussions for a free trade agreement and will continue to work with MPs and diplomats from these countries to advance CANZUK free movement and foreign policy.
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