Old friends, new opportunities: the importance of a UK NZ FTA

Issued by the New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF).

28 November 2018 – The NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF) has released a discussion paper on the potential for a future free trade agreement (FTA) with the United Kingdom (UK), as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.

“The UK is one of our most steadfast and like-minded trade friends,” said NZIBF Chair Malcolm Bailey. “We have deep shared history, culture and people-to-people links.   Despite the huge shift in our trade to the Asia-Pacific, the UK remains our fifth-largest trading partner, fourth-biggest agri-food export destination and fifth-biggest source of investment,” he added.

The NZIBF report was prepared by Associate Director Stephanie Honey on the basis of interviews with a wide range of business and other contacts over the last three months.

Mr Bailey noted that the UK was a key market for many NZIBF members, especially for sheepmeat, wine, apples and honey, and with huge potential on dairy and beef.

“The British are world leaders in services trade, in the tech sector and in the creative economy, and there are some exciting potential synergies there. The UK also offers a high-value market for sophisticated niche manufactured products such as agri-tech and medical devices.

“There are still some barriers between us, especially in the agri-food area and in some aspects of services trade. I would expect to see dynamic gains in both economies if we can free those barriers up and use the agreement to build new global value chains serving markets in Asia and North America,” Mr Bailey added.

The UK and New Zealand have both signalled an interest in an FTA. New Zealand was one of only four new potential partners identified by the UK earlier this year. The New Zealand Government has launched a consultation process for stakeholders.

Highlights from the report were presented today by NZIBF Executive Director Stephen Jacobi to a business audience brought together by NZIBF member Russell McVeagh and the British NZ Business Association.

“A future NZ UK FTA has a strategic dimension, potentially serving as a building block towards eventual UK membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP,” commented Mr Jacobi. “Perhaps one day it might even form part of a Commonwealth-wide trade arrangement. That’s why we need this deal to be as ambitious as possible”.

“Despite uncertainties about the Brexit process, we look forward to engaging with New Zealand and UK business colleagues and officials as this process moves forward,” concluded Mr Jacobi.

The preparation of the NZIBF report was supported by BusinessNZ, Beet + Lamb NZ, Dairy Companies’ Association (DCANZ), Meat Industry Association, NZ Winegrowers and NZ Apples and Pears.

For further information:

Malcolm Bailey cell 021 741 165 m.g.bailey@xtra.co.nz

Stephen Jacobi cell 0294 725 502 stephen@nzibf.co.nz

The report, ‘Old Friends, New Opportunities’, is available on the NZIBF website: http://www.tradeworks.org.nz/on-the-potential-for-a-uk-nz-fta/

MFAT’s call for submissions can be found here: https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/trade/free-trade-agreements/preparations-for-a-uk-nz-free-trade-agreement/

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