Thursday, June 20, 2024

First reading for UK free trade Bill

A Bill to enact New Zealand’s free trade agreement with the United Kingdom has had its first reading in Parliament.

Trade and Export Growth Minister, Damien O’Connor said the reading of the United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill in Parliament today brings the agreement a step closer.

“We’re continuing steady progress toward ratifying this historic free trade agreement (FTA) and having its benefits flowing through our economy,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The elimination of tariffs, almost all when the Agreement comes into force, and the new levels of ambition in inclusive and sustainable trade, including outcomes for Māori, women in trade, and the environment, make the UK FTA a gold-standard agreement.

“It’s one of the best deals we’ve ever negotiated and will boost our economy by up to $1 billion and provide us further economic security.”

Negotiations were launched on the UK FTA in June 2020 and reached agreement-in-principle in October last year.

Once both New Zealand and the United Kingdom have completed their ratification processes, the FTA can enter into force.

“This is an excellent deal that was negotiated at a good pace, with much of it done virtually through the pandemic,” Minister O’Connor said.

“We aim to complete New Zealand’s ratification processes by the end of this year.

“Our trade agenda has very good momentum. Under this Labour-led government we’ve brought three FTAs into force in the form of CPTPP, RCEP and PACER Plus. We’ve completed negotiations on our FTA with the European Union, which will increase our exports to the EU by up to $1.8 billion once fully implemented. In addition to this, we’ve upgraded our FTAs with China and Singapore.

“During this time the proportion of New Zealand’s goods and services exported to countries with which we have an FTA has gone from just over half five years ago to nearly three-quarters,” the Minister said.

The United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill can be read here.

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