UK 'closing in' on free trade agreement with New Zealand

The trade agreement could see the removal of tariffs on British and New Zealand goods.
The trade agreement could see the removal of tariffs on British and New Zealand goods.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Britain is nearing an agreement in principle on a free trade deal with New Zealand, its Trade Ministry said on Saturday (July 31), as London looks to bolster its post-Brexit trade ties with non-EU partners.

The European Union is Britain's single largest trade partner and the two sides have signed a post-Brexit trade pact, but business groups say they still face extra red tape dealing with European customers and suppliers as a result of Brexit.

Trade minister Liz Truss said that "great progress" had been made in a sixth round of discussions which ran from July 19-30.

A trade agreement with New Zealand could see the removal of tariffs on British and New Zealand goods making products available at lower prices, the ministry said.

A deal would also enable small- and medium-sized enterprises to export more goods and services to New Zealand, it added.

"We're closing in on an agreement in principle, with 6 more chapters now complete," Truss said.

In June, Britain received a green light to start the process of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, trade bloc of 11 countries.

The same month Britain's Trade Ministry also signalled confidence in its trade talks with New Zealand and said it aimed to conclude a "fantastic" agreement in August.