Saturday 31 July 2021 8:00 am

Truss: UK has made 'great progress' in New Zealand free trade deal negotiations

International trade secretary Liz Truss said the UK and New Zealand were “closing in” on a new free trade deal after the latest round of talks between the two countries concluded.

Truss met with her Antipodean counterpart Damien O’Connor for a series of trade talks between 19 and 30 July, for a new free trade deal that the parties are aiming to strike next month.

In a statement following the talks, Truss said: “We made great progress in our trade talks with New Zealand this week. We’re closing in on an agreement in principle, with 6 more chapters now complete. 

“The UK and New Zealand share core values, a long history and a commitment to free trade.

“I want a modern agreement that pushes new frontiers in areas like green and digital trade,” Truss said.

Trade between the two countries was worth £2.3bn in 2020. The negotiations could see the lifting of tariffs on goods like New Zealand wine and McVitie’s digestive biscuits.

It is also hoped that the deal with will help speed up the UK’s admission to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which it applied to join in January.

On admission to the £9tn free trade area of 11 Asia-Pacific nations, the partnership would cover half a billion people across the two continents, the trade secretary said.

“Membership would open up new opportunities for our Great British businesses, farmers and services, giving them access to some of the largest and fastest-growing markets in the world,” she added.

The Department of International Trade (DIT) said that Truss and O’Connor also discussed how the two nations could tackle climate change.