Sunday, April 21, 2024

NZ/UK Prime Ministers to meet on FTA future

Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins has announced he will meet with British PM, Rishi Sunak, at 10 Downing Street this week to advance the two countries’ Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The meeting takes place as part of Prime Minister Hipkins’ trip to London for the Coronation of King Charles III on Saturday.

“Trade and securing improved trade access for New Zealand exporters is a foreign policy priority for me this year and it will be a big focus of my visit ahead of the Coronation itself,” Mr Hipkins said. 

“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. Therefore gaining entry into force as soon as possible will be a focus of the trip.”

It is estimated the FTA will see New Zealand goods exports to the UK increase by over 50%, boost New Zealand’s annual GDP by up to $1 billion and save approximately $37 million per year on tariff elimination from day one, the PM said.

“My meeting with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday evening New Zealand time will focus on trade, our enhanced working holiday scheme, the war in Ukraine and the UKs role in the Indo-Pacific.”

Mr Hipkins said another focus of the trip will be the two nations’ ongoing commitment to Ukraine.

“I will be visiting New Zealand Defence Force personnel training Ukrainian troops outside of London, hosted by the UK Minister for Armed Forces James Heappey, and while there will make announcements about additional support New Zealand will make to the defence of their country.”

“I will also be convening a high powered roundtable discussion on climate change with a particular focus on adaptation and the resilience of horticulture and agriculture in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.

“Participants will include Lord Deben,  the UKs Independent Committee on Climate Change,  and former British High Commissioner to New Zealand Laura Clarke who is now the CEO of ClientEarth, an environmental law organisation.

“Rounding out the trip I will be holding bilateral meetings with the Prime Ministers of Tonga and Canada, as well as representing New Zealand at a range of official Coronation engagements,” Mr Hipkins said.

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