LONDON/WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Britain and New Zealand have reached an agreement in principle on a free trade agreement aimed at lowering tariffs, improving trade and bringing London closer to joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sealed the deal in a call on Wednesday after 16 months of negotiations.
“This is a great trade deal for the UK, cementing our longstanding friendship with New Zealand and strengthening our relationship with the Indo-Pacific,” Boris Johnson said in a statement.
Jacinda Ardern said that all tariffs on all products between the two countries will be eliminated and the vast majority of them, 97%, will be eliminated on the day the trade agreement enters into force.
The deal comes just months after a similar deal between Britain and Australia, as British ministers seek to wean themselves off trade dependence on the European Union.
The ministers see this as another step towards joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes Japan, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Peru, Brunei, Chile and Malaysia, and removes 95% of tariffs among its members.
Joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership has become Britain’s main trading objective after Brexit as prospects for a quick and comprehensive deal with the United States fade. Britain hopes to join by the end of 2022.
(Report by William James and Pravin Menon, French version by Camille Raynaud)
“Organizer. Social media geek. General communicator. Bacon scholar. Proud pop culture trailblazer.”