Wednesday, 11 August 2021 08:55

UK FTA hits crucial period

Written by  Peter Burke
UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss and NZ Trade Minister Damien O'Connor have committed to a FTA between the two countries. UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss and NZ Trade Minister Damien O'Connor have committed to a FTA between the two countries.

What happens in the next few weeks will be critical for New Zealand to secure a free trade agreement (FTA) with the UK.

Dairy Companies Association (DCANZ) executive director Kimberly Crewther says there has been a commitment by both the UK Minister of Trade Liz Truss and our Agriculture and Trade Minister Damien O'Connor to come to an 'in principle' agreement on the FTA by the end of August.

She says while this is a positive step, it should be noted that such an 'in principle' agreement is not the final FTA document, which may take several more months.

However, the 'in principle' agreement is a clear indication that both sides are basically at one - although some 'technical' details still have to be worked through by both sides.

On expert commentator told Rural News that this commitment by the two ministers certainly paves the way for a final quality FTA. It's understod that the UK is pushing for greater access to NZ in terms of services - especially financial - while NZ has a strong focus on access for primary exports.

Crewther understands that negotiators from both sides are working hard to deliver on the ministerial promise. She says the agreement NZ is looking for is similar to the one the UK recently concluded with Australia.

"The UK agreement with Australia has an end point of complete tariff elimination and that's what we believe should be delivered in a FTA, and that's what we want for NZ," she says.

O'Connor is also positive about a deal, saying the UK is coming to terms with being separate from the EU. He says this means they need a global strategy of connecting with as many markets as possible.

The UK is also in the process of applying for membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which require them to adopt a more liberal trade policy.

With the EU, Crewther is less optimistic, saying their past leaked offer in respect of an FTA was 'insulting and significantly inadequate'. She says any future offer would need to be a vast improvement to gain any credibility, as far as NZ was concerned.

"The ball is now in their court to come back with something that would actually meet the quality of what should be achieved," she says.

O'Connor concedes that it will take longer to get an FTA with the EU across the line. He says he had good meetings with politicians and officials in Brussels and gave them the message that a EU/NZ FTA would not spell ruin for their farmers.

"All were concerned that the trade agreement would not undermine any of their interests globally and we gave them that absolute assurance."

O'Connor hopes that early next year, they will reach a point where they can get a general agreement with the EU.

More like this

Anti co-operative?

OPINION: Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has thrown a spanner in the works as far as Fonterra’s proposed capital structure is concerned.

Body on the line!

OPINION: Your old mate has heard about rugby players putting their bodies on the line for their country, but not bureaucrats.

Rural license support

An extra $600,000 in funding to support driver licensing and education programmes in rural communities across NZ has been committed by the Government.

National

Rounding up on Round-Up

There's growing talk around New Zealand and the world about glyphosate being a health hazard, possibly a carcinogenic.

Machinery & Products

Vaderstad's new drill is Inspire(d)

Tillage, seeding and planting specialists Vaderstad has introduced its new Inspire product range – focused on the 12-metre seed drill…

JD's new 6Rs for 2022

With the upcoming market year 2022 (MY22) only a few weeks away, John Deere has released details of changes to…

New features on Case IH Optum

The latest Case IH Optum AFS Connect range features a new cab, interior and connectivity package designed to benefit both…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Fond farewell

OPINION: Your canine crusader would like to pay tribute and a fond farewell to former Agriculture Minister and Dairy NZ…

Front page!

OPINION: This old mutt reckons (un) social media is just an echo chamber of self-important, self-professed experts who lecture and…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter