Preparations for a UK-NZ Free Trade Agreement
New Zealand is preparing for a future Free Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom.
New Zealand and the UK are involved in a dialogue on our mutual trade interests as the UK prepares to leave the European Union. Since March 2017, officials have met regularly to discuss ways to:
- Maintain the stability and continuity of New Zealand’s trade with both the UK and the European Union throughout Brexit
- Prepare the ground as much as possible so that we can move quickly into FTA negotiations when the UK is able to start negotiating.
Both New Zealand and the UK have committed to launching negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement as soon as the UK is in a position to do so after Brexit. The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has referred to the UK as New Zealand’s oldest friend, and one of our closest partners on the world stage (external link). The UK is our fifth-largest trading partner, with two-way trade worth almost NZ$6 billion.
An FTA is a chance to deepen our strong links with the UK, make it easier for goods and business to flow between the two countries, and ensure that our relationship continues to grow into the future. The UK shares our support for an open and rules-based international trading system. We have complementary legal systems and many shared perspectives on key trade issues, which should make it possible to negotiate an FTA quickly. The UK has undertaken a similar public consultation process for a future FTA with New Zealand.
From 23 November 2018 to 11 February 2019, we asked for New Zealanders' views on a UK-NZ Free Trade Agreement. Submissions have now closed.
We will also consult further on specific issues once negotiations are launched.
In initial consultations, we asked New Zealanders for their views on:
- What New Zealand should prioritise in a future FTA with the UK
- Any areas where the UK and New Zealand could cooperate more closely
- Trade barriers that New Zealanders may face, or are concerned about, in trading with the UK after Brexit
- Specific industries, businesses or products that New Zealanders think could have better access to the UK’s market
- Other outcomes that will make it easier for New Zealanders to do business in the UK, including access to the right type of visas
- Any concerns New Zealanders have with a possible free trade agreement.
For details on upcoming trade policy events, see our public engagement on trade page.
New Zealand wants a high quality, comprehensive and progressive trade agreement with the UK that builds on our already strong relationship. The key benefits that we will be looking for in a free trade agreement include:
- Removing tariffs and other barriers that restrict the free flow of goods between our two countries
- Making it easier for traders of all sizes to do business in the UK, including services exporters
- Strengthening cooperation and dialogue with the UK in a variety of trade and economic fields
- Reflecting our goals including progress on gender equality, indigenous rights, climate change, and improved environmental outcomes.
Some key areas in which we will be seeking even closer cooperation with the UK under an FTA include:
- High quality primary sector and goods access to the UK’s market, such as for meat, mechanical machinery and equipment, fruit, pharmaceuticals, forestry, dairy and wine
- Helpful conditions for investment and services providers who operate between the two countries
- Commitments on progressive trade issues including environmental and labour protections, indigenous rights and gender equality.
- 23 June 2016: The UK holds a referendum on whether to stay in the European Union. A majority votes to leave the European Union (Brexit).
- October 2016: New Zealand and the UK agree to establish a Trade Policy Dialogue.
- March 2017: The first Trade Policy Dialogue meeting is held in London.
- May 2017: The second Trade Policy Dialogue meeting is held in London.
- September 2017: The third Trade Policy Dialogue meeting is held in London.
- April 2018: The fourth Trade Policy Dialogue meeting is held in Wellington.
- July-October 2018: The UK launches public consultations on an FTA with New Zealand.
- September 2018: The fifth Trade Policy Dialogue meeting is held in London.
- November 2018-February 2019: New Zealand calls for public submissions on an FTA with the UK.
- 29 March 2019: Brexit day: The UK is scheduled to formally leave the EU.