A free trade deal with the UK is approaching, with both sides set to sign a main deal by the end of the month.
The UK government has released more details on how the negotiations have been progressing.
Tariffs on honey and apple exports to the UK would be cut dramatically and wine facing tariffs of up to 20 cents a bottle would also be expected to be cut.
In return, tariffs on British gin, chocolate, clothing and cars that we import would be removed.
Britain’s Commerce Secretary Liz Truss said teams were working around the clock to close the deal in the coming weeks.
“We are both big fans of each other’s high-quality products, so this could be a huge boost to allow British buyers to enjoy lower prices and make British exports even more competitive,” Truss said.
“New Zealand and the UK are natural partners united by modern values. An agreement would reflect those ideals and is beneficial to both countries.”
The agreement would also be an important step towards the UK’s accession to the CPTPP.
“Trade between the two countries was worth £ 2.3 billion last year and is expected to increase after a deal,” Truss said.
New Zealand’s Minister of Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor said he was pleased to see the public statements made by the UK and indicated its determination to move forward on a free trade agreement with New Zealand.
“We remain ambitious and optimistic to negotiate a high-quality FTA with a trusted, traditional business partner,” O’Connor said.
“Our negotiators have been working around the clock to reach the shared goal of a free trade agreement in principle by the end of August.”
One of the main beneficiaries of a free trade agreement would be the red meat sector, which has been calling for easier access to the UK for some time, but the industry was not mentioned in the latest update.
New Zealand International Business Forum Executive Director Stephen Jacobi said the glaring omission was not a mistake.
“Beef, lamb and dairy are the three most sensitive parts of the negotiation, it is great that the UK government is preparing its public for an ambitious result, but the result has to speak to our main articles of commercial interest, otherwise there is no point in making a deal, “Jacobi said.
“I fully encourage our government to lean as much as possible in those areas to close this deal. It would be absolutely ridiculous if we had to sign an FTA with the UK that does not present the prospect of free trade.” zero tariffs on lamb, beef and dairy products within a reasonable time. “
UK farmers have raised concerns that a free trade deal could undermine them.
Jacobi said that was unlikely to happen.
“The British agricultural sector has been spoiled for the last 50 years under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, its farmers are not used to the cold winds of competition.
“But we are an off-season producer at best and we simply cannot invade their markets.”
If the government can’t negotiate the best outcome for New Zealand, it shouldn’t sign the deal at the beginning of the month just because it said it would, Jacobi said.