Liz Truss closes in! Landmark £2.9bn trade deal with New Zealand to be announced in days

UK has moved to ‘offensive’ trade position says Liz Truss

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The Secretary of State for International Trade and her colleagues are expected to announce that an agreement in principle has been reached within 14 days by the end of August. The landmark deal is expected to slash tariffs on wine imports alongside gin, meaning wine from the Commonwealth nation will likely be cheaper on the supermarket shelves.

Under the deal, tariffs are also expected to be slashed on UK car exports to New Zealand, worth £200m per annum.

The agreement is also expected to cover mutual recognition for professional qualifications and the movement of working professionals between both countries.

But Wellington has also been pushing for a deal that progressively removes all tariffs and quotas, including sheep and beef tariffs over 15 years and dairy within five.

Trade between both countries was worth £2.9billion in 2019 and it is hoped this value will be boosted by hundreds of millions. 

The Express understands UK negotiators have laid the groundwork with New Zealand for the deal with a “good rapport” being developed between both negotiating teams.

UK High Commissioner to New Zealand Laura Clarke, said: “There’s a lot to be gained from this bilateral trade agreement.”

The British diplomat also said they have had rounds of “very constructive discussions”.

She continued: “I think there is a shared ambition to do a really high-quality free trade agreement that’s ambitious in terms of tariff reduction but is also very innovative in things like what you do on services and digital trade.

“We are committed to getting it done as soon as we can and I think that’s true on both sides but you never want to compromise quality over speed.”

Ms Clarke said the securing of the deal would be a key step towards joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trading bloc.

The £9trillion bloc has Australia, Canada, Japan and Singapore among its members as well as Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Vietnam.

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The UK Government says membership could mean a 65 per cent increase in British exports to CPTPP nations over the next decade, worth £37 billion.

Damien O’Connor, New Zealand’s Trade Minister, added: “We are committed to reaching this milestone, although I have always said that the priority for New Zealand is a high-quality, comprehensive and inclusive outcome.”

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