New Zealand and UK sign free trade deal

Trade Minister Damien O’Connor signed New Zealand’s free trade agreement with the United Kingdom in London.

The agreement is expected to boost growth by $1 billion, and provide a boon to exporters who had long faced punishing European Union tariffs and quotas when exporting to the UK.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the agreement as “gold-standard”.

“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, helping to accelerate our economic recovery,” Ardern said.

“This is our first bilateral trade agreement to include a specific article on climate change and includes provisions towards eliminating environmentally harmful subsidies, such as harmful fossil fuel subsidies, and prohibiting fisheries subsidies which lead to overfishing,” she said.

The agreement also includes a “ground-breaking” Māori Trade and Economic Co-operation chapter that will create a platform for co-operation on issues important to Māori, including recognition of cultural taonga like the haka, Ka Mate.

O’Connor signed the agreement in London with the UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

The details of the agreement were agreed in principle and published last October. Now it has been signed, the agreement will need to be ratified by the Parliaments of both the UK and New Zealand before coming into force.

O’Connor said current estimates suggested goods exports to the UK will increase by over 50 per cent through the agreement.

“Our largest export to the UK is wine – approximately $500 million. Overnight $14m of wine tariffs will evaporate. New Zealand’s honey exporters will no longer face a $16 duty for every $100 worth of honey they send to the UK,” O’Connor said.

Mussels, which face a tariff of 8 to 20 per cent, will have those tariffs removed in four instalments over four years.

Dairy tariffs will be slowly reduced over five years on butter and cheese. Quotas for duty-free access will slowly increase until all tariffs are removed.

Tariffs on sheepmeat and beef will be liberalised slowly – over 15 years. During this period, a transitional tariff-free quota will increase until after 15 years, all tariffs are eliminated.

O’Connor noted that for the first time since the UK joined the European Community, the precursor to the European Union, New Zealand farmers would enjoy tariff-free access to the UK.

“Our dairy and red meat sectors will, for the first time since the 1970s, have tariff-free access that will grow through significant quotas until being fully liberalised. This is a commercially meaningful and excellent deal,” he said.

Source: Read Full Article