New Zealand and the United Kingdom have agreed, in principle, to the details of a historic free trade agreement which NZ Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, believes will accelerate the country’s economic recovery from Covid-19.
New Zealand is only the second country to secure such an agreement with the UK post Brexit. The deal aims to cuts costs for Kiwi exporters and businesses, as well as provide greater access to the United Kingdom’s markets.
“Prime Minister Boris Johnson and I spoke yesterday (Wednesday) evening to mark this historic moment and its importance in forging a stronger and more dynamic future relationship between two close friends and partners,” Ardern said.
“This deal serves New Zealand’s economy and exporters well as we reconnect, rebuild and recover from Covid-19, and look forward into the future.
Deal comes at a crucial time for NZ
“It’s one of our best deals ever and secured at a crucial time in our Covid recovery,” she added.
“The lesson from [the pandemic] is that we must have as many options [as possible] for our world-class products to ensure certainty for our primary producers, our economy and our people.”
The UK was New Zealand’s seventh largest trading partner pre-Covid, with two-way trade worth nearly $NZ6-billion to March 2020. It is estimated that the new agreement will see a 40% increase in NZ goods being exported to the UK, which will boost the economy by around $NZ970-million.
“This new trade deal is the cherry on the top of a long and lasting partnership between the United Kingdom and New Zealand,” UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said.
“It is good for both our economies, boosting jobs and growth as we build back better from the pandemic. We already share deep ties of history, culture and values, and I look forward to the next chapter in our friendship.”
Discussion on people-to-people links
Ardern also announced that New Zealand and the UK have committed to a discussion – outside of the free trade agreement talks – on how people-to-people links can be deepened even further.
This will include working to extend and improve the existing New Zealand-UK Working Holiday/Youth Mobility scheme. Work on this will begin immediately.
“These schemes create opportunities for young New Zealanders to develop their skills and work experience while travelling and living in the UK; and vice versa,” the PM said.
“For many young New Zealanders an overseas experience has become a rite of passage, providing a pathway to develop their skills and work experience while travelling and living in the United Kingdom.”