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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

Question No. 5—Trade and Export Growth

5. GLEN BENNETT (Labour—New Plymouth) to the Minister for Trade and Export Growth: What recent announcement has the Government made about reaching agreement in principle on a free-trade agreement with the United Kingdom?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON (Minister of Finance): on behalf of the Minister for Trade and Export Growth: Today, we announced the reaching of an agreement in principle on an inclusive, comprehensive, and high-quality free-trade agreement (FTA) with the United Kingdom. This deal substantially cuts costs for exporters and businesses and creates opportunities for New Zealand businesses to grow and diversify their trade while boosting the economy as we recover from COVID-19. Alongside the negotiations, our two countries have agreed to work together in the coming months to extend and improve the current working holiday arrangements, and this will be part of a mobility dialogue that will start immediately. We’ve worked hard to land a deal that benefits all New Zealanders, delivering meaningful access for exporters, businesses, and people, and I want to thank all of those who have been involved in the negotiations.

Glen Bennett: How does this agreement in principle provide meaningful access for some of our key industries?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: Just to take an example, our honey makers will enjoy no longer paying 16 percent tariffs on products they send to the UK. Our winemakers will be toasting a reduction in over $14 million worth of tariffs annually, as well as no longer having to face burdensome and costly administrative barriers in the UK market. Our butter and cheese producers will see significant tariff-free transitional quotas, providing opportunity to grow our trade through these periods. But it’s not just primary exporters who will benefit from this. We’ve agreed to cooperation and commitments in digital trade to assist our growing tech sector alongside securing more certainty in market for Kiwi services wanting to access the UK’s Government procurement programme.

Glen Bennett: How does this agreement in principle deliver on our trade priorities?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: Significantly, this is the first bilateral FTA that we’ve negotiated in line with our Trade for All agenda where we seek outcomes that will deliver for all New Zealanders. The FTA creates a platform for cooperation on a range of issues important to Māori and will reflect Māori interests in key areas across the agreement such as in the intellectual property, trade, and environment chapters. The deal also contains the most ambitious commitments we have ever negotiated on the environment, including specific provisions on climate change and an agreement to take concrete steps to eliminate subsidies on fossil fuels. Additionally, over 260 environmentally beneficial products have been prioritised for tariff elimination—the largest environment goods list ever agreed.

Hon James Shaw: Will enforceable provisions of the UK – New Zealand free-trade agreement align with both countries’ climate commitments under the Paris Agreement, and, if so, how?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: On behalf of the Minister, while the Paris Agreement and the FTA are two separate agreements, the environment chapter does include provisions on New Zealand’s and the UK’s right to regulate to meet our climate action targets and wider environmental objectives. In the end, the answer to the member’s question lies in the hands of this Government and all New Zealanders to be able to fulfil it.

MIL OSI