Friday, 22 October 2021

UK and NZ want Free Trade Agreement across the line as soon as possible

UK High Commissioner in New Zealand Laura Clarke. Photo: Supplied

LONDON – The UK is keen to have FTAs with 80 percent of its current trading partners as part of its post-Brexit strategy, with its sights also set on joining the Trans-Pacific partnership (CPTPP).

Clarke told Morning Report that Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor and the UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade spoke of wanting to make progress “as fast as we can”.

“Actually to have got as far as we have after just four rounds is actually pretty good going,” she said, adding that the next round of talks were scheduled for June and July.

“We’ve done a lot already on the UK-New Zealand one, we’ve agreed on the overall architecture of the agreement, we’ve provisionally closed a number of chapters and we’ve set out quite an ambitious timetable to finalise the agreement.

“We put through a revised market access offer [for agriculture goods] ahead of the fourth round, which was commercially very meaningful, of course New Zealand will always want more, and I think it remains a whole piece negotiation as well, because from our perspective we’re keen to see greater progress on services and much more on that approach.

“It looks like wine will do well, I think it will be good for the wellbeing of all New Zealanders if reduce tariffs on gin and whisky as well.”

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