Post-Brexit deal with New Zealand goes to Parliament despite ‘concerns’ over removing tariffs
A post-Brexit deal between the UK and New Zealand will be “formally laid in Parliament” today despite concerns over its impact on UK producers.
International trade minister Kemi Badenoch made the announcement in a letter to Angus MacNeil, the chair of the international trade committee.
The deal was agreed in February by Bedanoch’s predecessor and the New Zealand Minister for trade and export Growth, Damien O’Oconner.
Britain has so far signed more than 70 post-Brexit trade deals, and one agreement with the European Union.
This comes after the International Trade Committee published a report into the implications of the deal on 24 October, which “raises concerns over the elimination of tariffs” for New Zealand.
It also questioned the impact of the agreeing on “opening UK agri-food markets to cheaper imports”, highlighting New Zealands cheaper “beef, sheep-meat and dairy” products, and lower production costs.
It also “questions whether the pros and cons of tariff liberalisation have been fully considered.”
While deciding “on balance, the agreement should be ratified” it also “expresses shock” that there wasn’t full consideration for its impact on the Northern Ireland protocol.
The agreement was also passed through regulatory bodies such as the Trade and Agriculture Commission.
It will be put before MPs on Thursday and go through “pre-ratification scrutiny” the following day.
Saying the UK is committed to “transparency” and ensuring “robust scrutiny”, Bedanoch wrote that the government published details “as soon as it was signed.”
She added the deal will allow businesses to “benefit from the removal of tariffs on 100 per cent of UK goods exports” while also being able “to take advantage of tariff elimination without the need to significantly change their supply chains.”
The deal “boosts” the UK’s services sector, she added, guaranteeing UK suppliers including accountancy and legal services can work in New Zealand.
International Trade Committee Chair, Angus Brendan MacNeil MP, said: “Throwing open UK agri-food markets to cheaper goods has caused understandable disquiet among producers.”
“The Government has forged ahead on a deal creating new challenges which may bring cheaper food for consumers, but also potentially threatens our nation’s food security during a cost of living crisis.”
Given the deal will add just 0.02 per cent to the UK’s GDP, the Government must show how they have balanced these risks, and what they will do to support those who don’t benefit from this deal.
“We are running the risk of locking our beef, sheep-meat and dairy producers into a contest they never sought without support or protection, with competitors able to place them at a serious disadvantage, and at a time of immense challenge for consumers and businesses. These are issues that MPs must have a chance to debate on the floor of the House of Commons.”