Brexit: Emily Thornberry slams Liz Truss for 'empty' gesture
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Liz Truss and her Department for International Trade colleagues will take part in the fourth round of talks on securing a free trade argeement – potentially worth many billions of pounds next week. The landmark deal will slash tariffs on wine imports alongside gin, meaning wine from the Commonwealth nation will likely be cheaper on the supermarket shelves alongside New Zealand lamb.
Tariffs are also expected to be cut on UK car exports to New Zealand, worth £200m per annum.
Trade between both countries was worth £2.9billion in 2019 and will be boosted under the deal.
Express.co.uk understands UK negotiators are confident the terms of the deal can be agreed before June as the UK emerges out of a third lockdown.
UK High Commissioner to New Zealand Laura Clarke, said: “We will champion the free flow of trade, capital and knowledge as the best way to drive economic growth, and the recovery from Covid.
“And in many ways the UK’s post-Brexit independent trade policy is starting right here, in New Zealand, as we are negotiating our first post-Brexit FTA with New Zealand.
“That bilateral free trade agreement, which is about to enter its fourth round of negotiations, is part of our plan to have trade agreements with countries covering 80 percent of UK trade by the end of 2022.
“The FTA should also form the foundation for a strategic UK-NZ partnership on global trade issues.”
In a speech, Ms Clarke highlighted that the UK saw trade as a “global good”.
She added: “Not just in economic terms, trade also enhances bilateral relations and ensures a level of cooperation and interdependence that reduces the risk of conflict.
“We want to work with New Zealand on reform of the global trade system, to ensure that it works fairly for everyone.
“And we want to combine the UK’s scale and global heft – as the sixth-largest economy, and member of the G7 – with New Zealand’s track record in innovating in trade policy.”
Whitehall officials close to International Trade Secretary Ms Truss told Express.co.uk talks with New Zealand had been positive so far.
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One said: “New Zealand is an extremely important priority for us.
“Negotiations are extremely positive so we are hoping to close in very soon.”
Liz Truss said of New Zealand: “New Zealand is a vital ally that shares our belief in free enterprise, democracy and the importance of being tough on countries who don’t play fair.”
The negotiations come as the UK applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which has New Zealand as a member.
Negotiations are expected to start later this year under the Government’s post-Brexit plans, and joining the CPTPP will cut tariffs in trading with its 11 members, which also include Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore.
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