NZ wants post-Brexit trade deal

On his visit to Europe Prime Minister Bill English has met with his UK counterpart and says that New Zealand will seek a free trade deal with the UK as soon as possible ‘after Brexit’ (presumably after the UK has severed it’s ties with the European Union). And the UK is willing as soon as it is able to.

English is also working towards an EU trade deal.

RNZ: NZ to pursue post-Brexit trade deal

Britain is not able to sign trade deals with third countries while it remains a member of the European Union, but the British government has said it is keen to start preparatory work so agreements can be reached quickly after it leaves.

Mr English met with Mrs May in London overnight.

“We are ready to negotiate a high-quality free trade agreement with the UK when it is in a position to do so,” Mr English said at a news conference.

“We already have a strong and diversified trading relationship with the UK and a free trade agreement will build on that.”

English also met European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and has talked about a trade deal there.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said talks with New Zealand could be wrapped up far more quickly than is normal, perhaps in just two to three years.

At a separate briefing with reporters later on Friday, Mr English said he expected the New Zealand-EU deal to be completed before a New Zealand-Britain agreement.

That’s because there’s uncertainty about when the UK will exit the EU and how that will work out in Britain.

“It is difficult to formulate what kind of agreement we would have until it is clear what position the UK is in at the end of Brexit,” he said.

Mrs May said that while Britain remained in the EU, it would work to support an EU-New Zealand trade deal, while also making preparations for a future “bold new” bilateral agreement.

The formal process to leave the EU is scheduled to begin at the end of March but not much detail is known yet.

As Missy posted “Theresa May is expected to give a speech to outline the plan for Brexit in the next week or so”.


  1. Missy

     /  14th January 2017

    A note, or two, or three or more, on the negotiation of trade agreements.

    1. There is division on the view about whether the UK are restricted from negotiating or signing trade agreements until exit, if it is the latter, as some legal experts here believe, then an agreement can be negotiated from when Article 50 is triggered, and signed once the clock runs out, if it is the former, that is more of an issue for the UK. There were reports back in June that Mexico had a trade agreement ready to go – not sure how good for the UK it will be though, but if it is true, then the UK could be in a good position when they leave.

    2. I note NZ has been very muted on the whole issue compared to Australia. The Australian official line appears to be to include some form of easier access for immigration with a FTA, this has been promoted by MPs as well as the High Commissioner here. I hope NZ works to include a section in any trade agreement, I would hate to see the NZ Government give away something the Australians get.

    3. There is a lobby group looking at free movement between Canada, Australia, NZ, UK. They see this as different to the EU free movement due to the relative equality between the countries, meaning it is unlikely to be one way traffic in the free movement of people, as they believe as many Brits will want to go to one of the other three countries, as others would want to come to the UK.

    4. One worry for the UK is the lack of trade negotiators that are expert in this area. Until now all UK trade negotiations for the last 40 years have been conducted by the EU, and before that they mainly traded with the Commonwealth.

    I wait to see what happens, but I do hope there is more going on behind the scenes with NZ than they are publicly discussing.

    • “One worry for the UK is the lack of trade negotiators that are expert in this area.”

      Didn’t New Zealand offer to assist the UK with trade negotiation expertise? Perhaps we can advise them how to negotiate with us.

      • Missy

         /  14th January 2017

        That would work for us. 😀

        I believe Australia have also offered Trade Negotiators to the UK to help with negotiations post Brexit.

        To be honest I am not sure how ethical it will be for countries negotiating with the UK to have Trade Negotiators helping them in the negotiations.

        • Gezza

           /  14th January 2017

          “We are ready to negotiate a high-quality free trade agreement with the UK when it is in a position to do so,” Mr English said at a news conference.”

          So, that looks to me like we’re hoping only for a so-so desl at most. Otherwise he’d have said we want a “world class” free trade agreement with the UK. Winston Peters was the first to get into the act before Brexit, as I recall, to get over there & remind them the colonies might want to resume a clipper service & that we still had their flag at the top right of ours.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  14th January 2017

      It would be sensible to work together with Australia to get a good agreement. No sense in having differences between us.

      • Canada are different though, they were quite protectionist over the TPPA.

      • Pete Kane

         /  14th January 2017

        I don’t see an Anglo trade alliance as any sort of negative. Prehistoric, I know. (Love to bring our small Pacific ‘buddies’ into any benefits also – further their independence in a ‘material’ sense.)

      • Gezza

         /  14th January 2017

        I’m not entirely sure that our cuzzies across the ditch necessarily would have our best interests at heart Al. Look at our frigates. Also they shat on us over the Trans Tasman Travel Arrangement, really.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  14th January 2017

          I didn’t say we should let them negotiate for us.

  2. Missy

     /  14th January 2017

    Further more, on a NZ-EU agreement, I will be surprised if it is finished before the UK one, and I hope that English isn’t working on that timetable. The reasons for my scepticism are below:

    For an agreement to be made with the EU, all 28 (soon to be 27) members must agree, they each have a veto. The EU took over 7 years to get a deal with Canada, and it was almost derailed by a small province in Belgium that initially voted against it in the Belgian Parliament – leading to Belgium to veto.

    The EU are generally protectionist, NZ will possibly have to concede on agriculture (both France and Ireland are large agriculture producers), and possibly something like wine (France, Italy, and Spain are all large wine producers currently losing to new world wines). There is little possibility that the EU will make it harder for their own producers, and to do so they may be in a position to increase subsidies to make themselves competitive.

  3. Gezza

     /  14th January 2017

    Must say they both look very stylish & have winning smiles.

  4. The UK will be in raptures to get a trade deal with 4 million people on the other side of the world when they drop the single market with 650 million people on the doorstep …..well done UK !

    • I think the UK will be keen to be seen to be making trade gains even with small countries. We should be quick and easy.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  14th January 2017

      The single market won’t be dropped. The EU can’t afford it.

      • Gezza

         /  14th January 2017

        Agree. They’ll have to stump up extra protection money to pay for US military support now too.

      • Not sure the Brits can afford to lose it either ….reinventing imperial preference may not end well.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  14th January 2017

          They won’t. It’s in both side’s interests to find a solution so eventually it will happen, quite possibly after some more political casualities along the way.