How Brexit might affect the EU-NZ free trade agreement will depend on the final agreement between the EU and the UK.

The Brexit Process

The United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU) at 11pm/12am, midnight (Brussels time) on Friday 31 January (UK time). The UK is no longer a Member State of the EU.  There are now 27 EU Member States.

On 1 February 2020, the UK and EU entered an implementation period that will last until 31 December 2020. During this implementation period, the UK will remain in the EU single market and the current UK-EU trading arrangements continue subject to EU rules and regulations. The implementation period could be extended for one or two years if the EU and UK agree.

The rules that govern the UK-EU relationship – including trade – from 1 January 2021 (or later if the implementation period is extended) will be determined by what agreement is reached by the UK and EU during the implementation period.

What does Brexit mean for the EU-NZ FTA?

How Brexit might affect the EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will depend on the final agreement between the EU and the UK.

The UK and EU are seeking to negotiate a FTA that would provide for preferential trading arrangements between the UK and EU from 1 January 2021, given that the UK will no longer be a member of the EU Customs Union and Single Market. In the absence of a concluded FTA, the UK and EU would trade on non-preferential terms established by World Trade Organisation rules. In either event - an agreed FTA or not - the rules that govern UK-EU trade will change at the conclusion of the implementation period. While the outcome of Brexit is still unknown, negotiating a FTA with the EU remains a priority for New Zealand.

Given that the UK will no longer be a member of the EU Customs Union, the EU-NZ FTA will not include the UK. In preparation for this, New Zealand has been working closely with the UK to ensure that we are in a position to negotiate a FTA with the UK as soon as it is in a position to do so.

New Zealand has strong relationships with the EU and UK and these will continue. The New Zealand Prime Minister, Ministers and government officials will continue to work closely with the EU and the UK to protect and enhance our relationships with both as the UK moves to exit the European Union.

Find out more about the Brexit process and our preparations for a UK-NZ Free Trade Agreement.