NZ-UK Free Trade Agreement a step closer to ratification

The benefits of New Zealand’s free trade agreement (FTA) with the United Kingdom are now a step closer with the passing of two Bills, Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor said.

The United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill and the Apple Transitional Export Quota Bill passed their third readings today. These two Bills will enable New Zealand to implement its obligations under the FTA and are necessary to bring the historic agreement into force.

“This is an important milestone in our ratification process and in delivering future economic security for all New Zealanders,” Damien O’Connor said.

“The UK FTA is one of the best deals New Zealand has signed, reflecting the close relationship between our two countries. It will provide unprecedented access to the UK market, eliminating all tariffs on New Zealand exports over time. Immediately on entry into force, 99.5 per cent of New Zealand’s current trade will be able to enter the UK duty free.

“At full implementation, the deal is estimated to boost New Zealand’s GDP by up to $1 billion, with New Zealand exports to the UK estimated to grow by over 50 per cent.

“The UK FTA is a significant addition to New Zealand’s FTA network and will contribute to our diversified trade portfolio, assisting our recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

“As the first FTA launched and concluded under New Zealand’s Trade for All agenda, this agreement sets high ambition commitments in inclusive and sustainable trade. This includes quality outcomes on trade and environment, trade and gender, and small and medium sized enterprises. 

“The FTA contains significant outcomes on matters of interest to Māori. This includes a dedicated Māori Trade and Economic Cooperation chapter that will create a platform for cooperation on a range of issues important to Māori,” Damien O’Connor said.

The Apple Transitional Export Quota Bill, which was split out from the rest of the Bill at committee stage, creates new regime required to administer a transitional apple export quota.

“The Agreement will eliminate all tariffs on apples over three years, with a significant new duty-free quota for off-season exports during this time. This is a fantastic result for our apple growers,” Damien O’Connor said.

“We look forward to the United Kingdom completing its own ratification process, at which point we will work together to set an entry-into-force date for the FTA.

“Our trade agenda has great momentum. We’ve secured four new FTAs in five years and upgraded two existing agreements. In addition, the New Zealand Inc brand was boosted overnight by being ranked number one out of 30 economies in the Trade Sustainability Index, published out of Singapore,” Damien O’Connor said.

The United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill and the Apple Transitional Export Quota Bill can be read here.  Further information on the NZ-UK FTA is available here.