Truss concludes trade deal with New Zealand
Liz Truss will hold talks with New Zealand negotiators on Thursday as she seeks to pave the way for a trade deal with the country in a few weeks.
Secretary of Commerce’s Kiwi counterpart Damien O’Connor flew to Britain on Wednesday and the two had dinner, ahead of direct talks to be held in the Foreign Office’s Locarno room. This is the first time they have met in person.
A deal with New Zealand is seen as a clear next step after Britain and Australia announced outlines for a deal on Tuesday.
The rapprochement with Wellington is expected to follow the same broad lines as the Australia deal – opening the country to British goods and services, but opening up UK markets to exports sent by New Zealand farmers.
A source at the Department of International Trade said: âWe want to maintain the momentum created by the Australia deal. The deal will be similar to Australia’s – therefore fundamentally liberal, high-level and advanced in areas like services, reflecting our shared values ââand the kinship between our two countries.
“New Zealanders will have to give us a lot more on mobility, investment and services if they want a deal, and Liz will negotiate hard on that.”
Government officials stressed that any deal signed would maintain protections for UK farmers. The immediate economic benefits of an agreement with New Zealand are likely to be negligible.
The government’s own analysis said the impact on GDP over 15 years would be “close to zero” compared to no deal.
However, Britain is looking to show the world that it is a free trade nation and it is hoped that bigger and more lucrative deals will follow.
The outlines of the Australian deal have met with a frosty reception from many UK farmers, who have warned that a phasing out of tariffs and quotas could leave the UK vulnerable to a flood of Australian beef.
The backlash continued on Wednesday, with Peter Hardwick of the British Meat Processors’ Association saying an influx of high-end cuts from Down Under could “skim the top of our home market and have a very negative effect on yields” .