LONDON (AFP) – Britain on Wednesday agreed to a trade deal with New Zealand that would remove tariffs on a wide range of goods as the United Kingdom seeks to expand economic ties around the world after leaving the European Union.
The agreement was ratified after 16 months of talks between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Artern. Although trade with New Zealand is only 0.2% of UK trade, Britain hopes it will help open the door to membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The partnership, which includes Japan, Canada and Vietnam, had a GDP of 4 8.4 trillion ($ 11.6 trillion) in 2020.
“This is a wonderful trade agreement for the UK, strengthening our long-standing friendship with New Zealand and strengthening our relationship with the Indo-Pacific,” Johnson said. “It will benefit businesses and consumers across the country, reduce costs for exporters and open access for our workers.
In New Zealand, when the announcement came on Thursday, Artern said the deal would be New Zealand’s best and would increase the country’s economy by approximately NZ $ 1 billion ($ 720 million). Wine, butter, cheese and beef.
“It’s a historic deal, but it’s a big deal, and it was basically achieved within a year,” Artern said. “This has never happened before.”
UK trade officials are talking about the benefits of the deal, announcing that Savignon Blanc wine, Manuka honey and kiwi fruit from New Zealand will be cheaper for British consumers. Clothing, buses and bulldozers no longer face customs duties.
However, British farmers expressed concern that with another agreement signed with Australia earlier this year, labor shortages and rising costs would mean a significant surplus of imported food, while already affecting many farmers in the country. Kingdom.
“This will damage the credibility of many British farms in the years to come, at the expense of the public, who want more British food on their shelves, and at the expense of our beloved rural communities and cultivated lands,” Minnett, president of the National Farmers Association, speculated.
“Instead of repeating that these agreements are good for British agriculture, we must now explain how these agreements will surely benefit agriculture, the future of food production and the high standards on this shore,” Butters said. .
Asked if the deal would make New Zealand less dependent on China for its exports, Ordern said diversification would improve options and flexibility for its exporters.
There are still some sore feelings in New Zealand after Britain joined the European Economic Community in 1973, causing many New Zealand exporters to feel abandoned.
Artern said the New Testament may be the time to draw a line under that period of history.
Some details of the deal are still in the final stages, and officials expect it to take effect next year.
Johnson’s Conservative government has focused on negotiating free trade agreements around the world in an effort to boost economic growth since Brexit. The big prize would be a trade deal with the US, however a deal with the US seems to be very lucrative.
Perry reports from Wellington, New Zealand.
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