UK-New Zealand reach free trade deal

UK-New Zealand reach free trade deal

The UK and New Zealand have reached an agreement in principle on a free trade agreement. The deal is designed to reduce tariffs and increase trade in services.

Ummatimes -
A free trade agreement between the two countries will also bring London one step closer to membership in a broader trans-Pacific trade agreement. Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Jacinda Ardern signed the deal in a Zoom call Wednesday after 16 months of negotiations between the governments of the two countries.

"This is a great trade deal for the UK, strengthening our long friendship with New Zealand and advancing our relationship with the Indo-Pacific," Johnson said in a statement.

The deal with New Zealand was reached just months after Britain struck a similar deal with Australia. British ministers are working to perfect the post-Brexit trade axis so that Britain doesn't rely solely on trade with the European Union.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference in Wellington that a trade deal (with Britain) was in the best interests of the country. "This deal serves New Zealand's economy and exporters well as we reconnect, rebuild and recover from Covid-19, and look forward to the future," Ardern said.

Ardern said all trade tariffs on all products would be removed between the two countries and most tariffs (97 percent) would be removed on the day the trade deal takes effect. The deal also fully opened the UK market to imports of sheep from New Zealand and that angered British farmers.

"The government is now asking UK breeders to come face to face with some of the most export-oriented breeders in the world, without making any serious, long-term and well-funded investments in the UK livestock sector that could enable us to compete," said Minette Batters, president of the UK National Farmers Union. .

The British government stressed liberalization would be gradual over more than a decade and said the existing sheep quota had not been fully utilized. The Anglo-New Zealand trade deal took longer to reach than expected and comes nearly two months after the target date.

The deal was criticized by Britain's opposition Labor Party, as it was seen as detrimental to farmers and ranchers. The agreement is also considered to have failed to provide jobs, exports or economic growth.

However, ministers see it as another stepping stone to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), an 11-member trading bloc including Australia, Singapore and Mexico. CPTPP membership has become a key post-Brexit UK trade goal after prospects for a quick and comprehensive deal with the United States faded.

The UK hopes to become a member of the CPTPP by the end of 2022. It is also in line with the UK's foreign policy push to exert more influence in the Indo-Pacific in an effort to moderate China's global dominance.