Tuesday, 26 October 2021 08:55

Finally, a deal is here

Written by  Peter Burke
Trade and Export Minister Damien O'Connor. Trade and Export Minister Damien O'Connor.

News that NZ and the UK have agreed 'in principle' to the terms of the free trade agreement (FTA) will come as welcome news to the dairy sector.

The announcement was made at Parliament last week by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O'Connor. The agreement 'in principle' means the deal has been done, with just the final text to be worked through in the coming months.

Ardern says it's one of NZ's best deals ever and is secured at a crucial time in the Covid recovery. She says it will serve our economy and exporters well.

The deal comes just a week after O'Connor met with the UK's Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan in Italy and the word from those discussions was that announcement on an FTA was imminent.

Speaking from MIQ following his recent trip to Europe, O'Connor says he's proud of what NZ has achieved in the negotiations with 97% of tariffs being eliminated on our products entering the UK.

"There will be a transition period for our butter, cheese, beef and sheep meat producers during which time they will enjoy significant tariff-free transitional quotas.

"This provides great opportunity to grow our trade through these periods. For instance, 7000 tonnes of butter, and 24,000 tonnes of cheese can flow to the UK market tariff-free at commencement. That will grow to 15,000 for butter, and 48,000 for cheese by Year 5, after which point trade will be free," he says.

In return NZ will fully liberalise tariffs on UK goods entering our country.

"This FTA is comprehensive, inclusive and high quality and provides fantastic opportunity for our exporters," O'Connor says.

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