UK has moved to ‘offensive’ trade position says Liz Truss
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The International Trade Secretary has revealed she and her team are currently working “round the clock” to finalise the agreement, which she described as a “win-win for both countries” as well as an important step towards accessing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). As well as chocolate and gin, buses and clothes are among a list of British products on which tariffs of up to 10 percent could be dumped in a move that would encourage Kiwis to buy British.
In return, high-quality New Zealand products including wine, food and drink could be tariff-free in UK shops.
Total trade in goods and services between the UK and New Zealand was worth £2.3billion last year, with the figure likely to increase as a result of a wide-ranging trade deal between Wellington and London.
Ms Truss, Tory MP for South-West Norfolk, said: “We are working round the clock to get this deal done in the coming weeks.
“We are both big fans of each other’s high-quality products, so this could be a huge boost that allows British shoppers to enjoy lower prices and British exports to be even more competitive.”
She added: “New Zealand and the UK are natural partners united by modern values.
“An agreement would reflect those ideals and is a win-win for both countries.”
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Referring to the trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, Ms Truss said: “It would also be an important step towards our accession to CPTPP, helping the UK gain access to 11 of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies across the Pacific region and opening doors to dynamic markets across the world.”
Once signed, the deal will see British exporters will gain an advantage over international rivals in the New Zealand import market, which is expected to grow by 30 percent by 2030.
Currently iconic British products such as Beefeater gin and Belvoir soft drinks currently face a tariff of five percent when entering New Zealand, as do products from chocolate to cheese and crisps.
The UK’s fashion industry sold £30million-worth of clothes to New Zealand last year, and businesses such as Tee-Time Clothing could now benefit when tariffs of 10 percent on clothing are lifted.
Cars are the UK’s biggest export to New Zealand, with £133million-worth sold last year, and buses, motorhomes and caravans are in line to also see tariffs up to 10 percent removed entirely.
Dominic Goudie, Head of International Trade, at the Food & Drink Federation, said: “We hope to see the UK conclude an ambitious trade deal with New Zealand which removes tariffs facing UK exports of quality manufactured food and drink.
“This would provide a welcome boost for producers and exporters of iconic UK products including chocolate, coffee, biscuits and soft drinks, where UK sales in New Zealand are currently £10million each year. “
Mr Goudie stressed: “Our sector has significant untapped potential for export growth and removing existing tariffs will make UK products more competitive, creating the conditions to drive future growth in New Zealand.
“Given their relative geographical proximity, having deals in place with both New Zealand and Australia that deliver similarly ambitious outcomes will be welcome news for UK producers seeking to expand sales around the world, as many will look to supply to both markets.”
Louise Ryan, Managing Director, The Gin Hub Pernod Ricard, said: “A UK-New Zealand FTA is great news for gin produced in the UK. There’s a big opportunity for growth in New Zealand, with the gin category doubling in size in the last three years, led by the premium+ segment.
“Cutting the gin tariff to zero will enable us to put more investment behind our iconic British brands, such as our blockbuster Beefeater London Dry Gin, which is accelerating growth with the launch of new flavours: Beefeater Pink Strawberry and Beefeater Blood Orange.”
The sixth round of trade talks with New Zealand took place between 19-30 July 2021, with negotiations now underway on all areas of the Free Trade Agreement.
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