New Zealand and the United Kingdom have signed a historic Free Trade Agreement (FTA) overnight that unlocks unprecedented access to the UK market and accelerates New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery, said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
“This is a gold-standard free trade agreement. Virtually all our current trade will be duty free from entry into force, including duty-free quotas for key products like meat, butter and cheese, helping to accelerate our economic recovery,” Ms Ardern said.
“The deal will boost our GDP by up to $1 billion, supporting business and jobs across the economy.
“This is our first bilateral trade agreement to include a specific article on climate change and includes provisions towards eliminating environmentally harmful subsidies, such as harmful fossil fuel subsidies, and prohibiting fisheries subsidies which lead to overfishing.
“It also includes a ground-breaking Māori Trade and Economic Cooperation chapter that will create a platform for cooperation on issues important to Māori.
“The United Kingdom and New Zealand are great friends and close partners with historical connections that run deep. Our agreement provides a springboard for new engagement and even closer ties.
“This world-leading FTA will serve New Zealand well as we reconnect, rebuild and recover from COVID-19, and look forward into the future,” she said.
The FTA was signed in London by Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Damien O’Connor and the UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
“As soon as it enters into force this deal will cut costs for exporters and create opportunities for New Zealand businesses to grow and diversify their trade,” Mr O’Connor said.
“It’s estimated New Zealand goods exports to the UK will increase by over 50 percent through the agreement.
“Our largest export to the UK is wine – approximately $500 million. Overnight $14 million of wine tariffs will evaporate. New Zealand’s honey exporters will no longer face a $16 duty for every $100 worth of honey they send to the UK.
“Our dairy and red meat sectors will, for the first time since the 1970s, have tariff-free access that will grow through significant quotas until being fully liberalised. This is a commercially meaningful and excellent deal.
“We’ve also secured the removal of administratively burdensome and costly barriers that will benefit the likes of our wine exporters.
“By removing tariffs and other barriers that have limited the growth of our goods and services trade, as well as our investment connections, our exporters and businesses can now enter a new era of market access, levelling the playing field with the UK’s other trading partners.”
He said more than 290 environmentally beneficial products had been prioritised for tariff elimination – the largest environment goods list ever agreed in the world for an FTA.
“This agreement reflects the Government’s Trade For All agenda, ensuring this FTA works harder both for our economy and our society. It includes commitments on SMEs, trade and gender, trade and development, and consumer protection,” Minister O’Connor said.
The UK was New Zealand’s seventh largest trading partner pre-COVID, with two-way trade worth $6 billion to March 2020.
The FTA also includes commitments on the movement of business persons, making it easier to do business in the UK, Minister O’Connor said.
“We are aiming for this historic agreement to enter into force by the end of 2022, after both partners have ratified the agreement through our respective parliaments,” he said.