The UK has agreed to a free trade deal with New Zealand in what is another key stepping stone to joining the 11-country Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trading bloc.
Boris Johnson announced today that the deal would see UK markets opened up to New Zealand agricultural products as tariffs are slashed on things like Kiwi wine and meat.
Tariffs will be slashed on British exports as well, while the deal will also make it easier for Brits to travel and work in New Zealand.
Initial analysis released by the Department for International Trade last year suggests a trade deal with New Zealand will have a minimal impact on the UK’s GDP.
However, it does see the UK sign another deal with a CPTPP country as it tries to gain entry to the bloc by the end of next year.
The CPTPP – which includes countries like Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand – sees its members trade on zero-tariff terms, while also providing important data sharing agreements between countries.
Speaking about the UK-New Zealand trade deal, Johnson said: “This is a great trade deal for the United Kingdom, cementing our long friendship with New Zealand and furthering our ties with the Indo-Pacific.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern added: “This world-leading free trade agreement lays the foundations for even stronger connections as both countries embark on a new phase in our relationship. It is good for our economies, our businesses and our people.”
The trade deal will see greater access for British and financial and insurance services firms to New Zealand markets.
This was praised by CBI president Lord Karan Bilimoria who hailed the deal for “enabling fluid services trade – digital policies that underpin all industries and innovation”.
Labour shadow international trade secretary Emily Thornberry criticised the deal for slashing all tariffs on New Zealand agricultural exports and the effects this could have on British farmers.
“It is a deal whose only major winners are the mega-corporations who run New Zealand’s meat and dairy farms, all at the expense of British farmers who are already struggling to compete,” she said.
“But for British jobs, growth and exports, this deal is yet another massive failure.”
National Farmers’ Union president Minette Batters said: “The fact is that UK farm businesses face significantly higher costs of production than farmers in New Zealand and Australia, and it’s worth remembering that margins are already tight here due to ongoing labour shortages and rising costs on farm.
“The government is now asking British farmers to go toe-to-toe with some of the most export orientated farmers in the world, without the serious, long-term and properly funded investment in UK agriculture that can enable us to do so.”