UK reaches Agreement in Principle with New Zealand

UK reaches Agreement in Principle with New Zealand

On 20 October 2021, New Zealand and the UK reached agreement on the key elements of a new high quality, comprehensive and progressive free trade agreement (FTA). Some of the highlights of this agreement are set out below, with all details on here.

Underpinning this agreement in principle is the legal text of the agreement. In most areas, negotiations on this text have also been substantially concluded. Work to finalise the text in accordance with this document will continue over the coming weeks, alongside the commencement of the legal review and verification of the agreement.

This agreement in principle does not create any legally binding obligations. Work is continuing to finalise the legal text of the FTA. Once the text has been finalised and legally verified, and domestic approval processes have been completed, arrangements will be made for the signing of the FTA. Following signature, and subject to completion of both countries’ domestic requirements, the FTA will enter into force.

1. National treatment and market access for goods

New Zealand and the UK commit to the removal of all customs duties on bilateral trade, with most tariff lines, covering the vast majority of current exports, being fully liberalised on entry into force of the FTA. Other mechanisms will facilitate trade and address non-tariff barriers between our two countries.

2. Rules of origin

New Zealand and the UK commit to rules of origin that will facilitate trade and reflect modern production processes and global value chains. The commitments will create simple and efficient processes for traders and customs authorities to prove and confirm the originating status of goods.

3. Customs procedures and trade facilitation

New Zealand and the UK commit to efficient and transparent customs procedures that will support increased trade under the FTA. Goods will be released from customs within clear timeframes to provide certainty for traders. Paperwork will be minimised where possible, with more information available electronically (complementing paperless trading commitments which will be set out in the digital chapter). The rules agreed will reinforce New Zealand and the UK’s ability to maintain effective customs control.

6. Technical barriers to trade (TBT)

New Zealand and the UK commit to provisions that ensure technical barriers to trade are non-discriminatory and do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade, while preserving each country’s ability to take measures to fulfil legitimate objectives, including for the protection of health, safety, national security and the environment. The FTA will result in increased cooperation regarding technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment.

8. Cross-border trade in services

New Zealand and the UK commit to liberalising services in a manner that strengthens existing bilateral trade, deepens market access and makes it easier for services companies to trade and for professionals to operate in each other’s economies.

Click here to read the full Agreement in Principle on

William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Business will welcome an Agreement in Principle between the UK and New Zealand covering trade in goods and services.

“We particularly welcome the intention to agree comprehensive chapters on market access, labour mobility and professional qualifications, digital trade, and green goods and services. In the year prior to start of the pandemic, the UK had a £366m surplus in services trade with New Zealand, with particular strengths in insurance, pensions, travel, communications, other financial services and intellectual property.

“New Zealand-UK trade is currently between £2-3bn per annum. When this agreement is translated into a final free trade agreement it should provide new opportunities for UK exporters as well as resulting in some small falls in the price of New Zealand wine and other goods imports.

“UK road vehicles, pharmaceutical and other manufacturing exporters will welcome these improved trading terms, with cars accounting for a fifth of all UK goods exports to New Zealand. The agreement on green trade also has the potential to set a new benchmark on a commitment to sustainability within free trade agreements globally.

“We look forward to engaging with the UK Government and the New Zealand Ambassador in the final stages of these negotiations and to giving our views on the draft text at the earliest opportunity.”

“We particularly welcome the intention to agree comprehensive chapters on market access, labour mobility and professional qualifications, digital trade, and green goods and services."

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