WELLINGTON – New Zealand and Britain have agreed in principle the details of a historic Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will see a boost of almost 1 billion NZ dollars ($720 million) to New Zealand GDP and unprecedented access for Kiwi exporters to the British market.
The FTA will also see an elimination of all tariffs by Britain on New Zealand exports, with over 97 percent being removed the day the FTA comes into force, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a press conference on Thursday.
As a result, New Zealand exporters will save approximately 37.8 million NZ dollars per year on tariff elimination alone, statistics show. Elimination of tariffs covers all honey, wine, kiwifruit, onions, a range of dairy and meat products, and most industrial products.
The deal will also see significant increases for beef and sheep meat market access, Ardern said, adding Working Holiday arrangements for young people from both countries are to be improved and extended.
New Zealand is the second country to secure a new FTA with Britain post Brexit, Ardern said, adding the FTA will further accelerate New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery and substantially cuts costs for exporters and businesses immediately.
She said New Zealand’s export beef volumes will increase from 12,000 tonnes to 60,000 tonnes, and those of sheep meat will rise from 149,205 tonnes to over 164,000 tonnes, with free market access after 15 years – putting more money back into the pockets of Kiwi farmers while presenting them the opportunity for further growth.
Britain was New Zealand’s seventh largest trading partner pre-COVID, with two-way trade worth nearly 6 billion NZ dollars (4.32 billion U.S. dollars) to March 2020, statistics show.
New Zealand Trade Minister Damien O’Connor said pre-COVID estimates also projected that New Zealand goods to Britain will increase up to 40 percent and that New Zealand GDP will benefit up to 970 million NZ dollars (699 million U.S. dollars) due to the FTA.
More than 260 environmentally beneficial products have been prioritized for tariff elimination – the largest environment goods list ever agreed, O’Connor said.
The agreement in principle sets out the key elements of the free trade deal with Britain, with the text to be finalized over the coming months, he said.
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