NZ eyes free-trade agreements with EU, UK

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Photo: RNZ
Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Photo: RNZ
The government has congratulated Britain and the European Union on the Brexit deal agreed this morning - four and a-half years after the British people voted to leave the EU.

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta says that in recent months the government has ramped up efforts to help New Zealand businesses prepare for the new era, deal or no deal.

"We warmly congratulate the UK and the EU on the announcement. We know this has not been an easy process and we acknowledge there are further steps before the agreement is formalised."

She says the government looks forward to negotiating free-trade agreements with both parties but in the meantime, the issue of preserving quota access in both markets must be resolved.

Both the UK and the EU have given assurances the deal will not leave New Zealand worse off.

"In 2021, we look forward to deepening our links both with the UK and the EU for the benefit of our respective peoples," Mahuta says.

"This includes negotiating high-quality and comprehensive free trade agreements with both the EU and the UK, consistent with Aotearoa New Zealand's Trade for All agenda. These remain priorities for this government."


Every year we seem to read about new 'free trade agreements', with every country for the past 30 years... (just saying)

The major hurdle NZ will have in concluding a FTA with the EU is meeting the environmental standards that they will demand. Foremost in these issues will be the well publicised resistance by the agricultural industry to the gifts efforts to improve water quality in streams and rivers. The EU is insisting that if we want to sell our primary produce to them then we need to be able to provide evidence that farming practices are environmentally sound.
NZ's agricultural industries resistance to picking up their game in this regard will continue to sabotage progress towards a FTA. They're shooting themselves in the foot.

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