U.K. Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss | Carl Court/Getty Images
UK-New Zealand trade deal ‘essential’ to help recovery, says UK trade secretary
The UK says it wants to join a free trade agreement involving 11 Asia-Pacific countries.
Updated 7/13/20, 12:17 PM CET
A trade deal with New Zealand is an “essential” part of helping the U.K. economy recover from the coronavirus slump, said U.K. Trade Secretary Liz Truss, as Britain launched formal talks with Wellington.
Truss added, in comments to POLITICO, that a deal will be a step toward membership of a free-trade agreement with a group of Asia-Pacific nations.
Britain is set to leave the EU’s customs union on December 31, leaving it free to strike trade agreements with countries outside the bloc. It is currently negotiating a trade deal with Brussels, while pursuing agreements around the world, including with the U.S. and Japan.
In June, the U.K. government announced its intention to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) — a free-trade agreement involving 11 Asia-Pacific countries including Canada, Australia, Japan, Vietnam and New Zealand.
“Alongside our negotiations with Australia and Japan [a New Zealand deal] is a step towards membership of CPTPP — a high standards and rules-based trade area encompassing some of the world’s most dynamic economies,” Truss said.
She added that the deal is “essential in helping the U.K. overcome the economic challenge posed by coronavirus,” explaining that it will help Britain’s small businesses and boost exports by up to £100 million and workers’ wages by £200 million.