New Zealand-United Kingdom

Free Trade Agreement

Overview

On 28 February 2022 (1 March NZT) New Zealand signed a high quality, comprehensive free trade agreement with the United Kingdom, one of the world's largest economies and an important, long-standing partner.

New Zealand enjoys a uniquely close bond with the UK. The NZ-UK FTA will further strengthen our relationship by creating stronger trade and investment ties between our countries.

The UK is a crucial market for some of our key exports, with two-way goods and services trade worth NZ$6 billion pre-COVID. 

This FTA will provide New Zealand exporters with more favourable access to the UK market, helping to build our trade back up to pre-COVID levels and beyond.

Preparations for a NZ-UK FTA began in 2017, but negotiations began only once the UK exited the European Union.

Negotiations were formally launched in June 2020.

On 20 October 2021 New Zealand and the UK reached Agreement in Principle (AIP) which confirmed the parameters of the deal and set out the terms on which the text was concluded over subsequent months.

With the Agreement now signed, both sides are working to bring the FTA and its benefits into force as soon as possible, ideally by the end of 2022.

Read the media statement New Zealand signs historic free trade deal with the United Kingdom

Find more information including key outcomes, the National Interest Analysis, the full text of the FTA, and next steps here.


Key outcomes include:

  • New Zealand exporters will be able to compete on a level playing field in the UK, particularly against other global exporters who have already secured free trade deals with the UK.
  • The market access package is one of the very best New Zealand has secured in any trade deal.  All customs duties on all products will be eliminated between both countries once fully implemented.
  • The vast majority of customs duties will be removed entirely the day the FTA comes into force, including wine, honey, onions, kiwifruit, a range of dairy products, and most industrial products.
  • A small number of New Zealand products will be liberalised over a longer time frame of up to 15 years but with significant new duty-free quota access provided in the interim. This includes for apples (3 years), cheese and butter (5 years), and beef and sheep meat (15 years) [1].
  • Overall, this means 99.5% of current New Zealand goods trade will enter the UK tariff-free from entry into force of the FTA.
  • The NZ-UK FTA will provide opportunities for businesses large and small to grow, invest and diversify.
  • Protecting and promoting Māori interests in this free trade agreement has been a priority for us throughout this negotiation.  The NZ-UK FTA recognises the unique status of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, including in the preamble of the Agreement, and includes a Māori Trade and Economic Cooperation chapter that will create a platform for cooperation on a range of issues important to Māori. The FTA also reflects Māori interests in key areas across the agreement, such as in the intellectual property and trade and environment chapters. It also includes New Zealand’s Treaty of Waitangi exception, which enables the New Zealand Government to take measures it deems necessary to accord more favourable treatment to Māori regarding matters covered under the Agreement, including in fulfilment of its obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • The FTA features the most far-reaching trade and environment provisions New Zealand has ever negotiated, including commitments to eliminate fisheries subsidies, to take steps toward eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, and to promote sustainable agriculture. It prioritises the elimination of tariffs on over 290 environmentally beneficial products – the largest such list agreed in any FTA to date. It also underlines the urgent need to address climate change, and commits to working together to do so. 
  • New Zealand’s Trade for All agenda is reflected throughout the FTA, including in a dedicated chapters on Trade and Gender supporting women’s economic empowerment, Māori Trade and Economic Cooperation, Trade and Development, Consumer Protection, and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises; and advanced provisions on Environment (including climate change), Trade and Labour, and Anti-Corruption.
  • The FTA will preserve the right of governments to regulate in the public interest, including for the environment, education, health and wellbeing of New Zealanders.
  • There will be no Investor-State Dispute Settlement in this FTA. It has also been agreed that ISDS would not apply between New Zealand and the UK in CPTPP either, should the UK accede to that Agreement.

    You can find further information on the NZ-UK FTA outcomes in the National Interest Analysis here

[1] Beef access is provided through a duty-free quota for 10 years, followed by a product-specific safeguard until year 15. All trade is duty-free below the safeguard trigger.