Britain and New Zealand strike free trade deal

Britain and New Zealand are on the verge of signing a free trade agreement which will reduce tariffs and improve services trade.

Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Jacinda Ardern agreed the pact in a Zoom call on Wednesday after 16 months of negotiation.

The agreement brings London one step closer to its aim of joining a broader trans-Pacific trade club with the likes of Canada and Japan, as it forges a future for itself outside of the EU.

At a news conference on Thursday, Ardern said she looked forward to closer relations with Britain:

"The historical connections that bind us run deep. This world leading free trade agreement we are now on the verge of concluding will lay the foundations for even stronger connections in the future. This serves New Zealand well as we reconnect, rebuild and recover from COVID-19."

Trade between the two countries was worth around 3.1 billion dollars last year, but leaders now expect it to rise.

Under the pact, tariffs on most goods will be eliminated on the day the deal comes into force, on others, such as dairy and meat products, it will be a more phased approach.

That means cheaper New Zealand wine and honey for British consumers but a potentially raw deal for British farmers.

Britain's National Farmers' Union hit out at the deal, saying they are now being expected to compete with some of the most export-orientated farmers in the world.

Furthermore, the immediate economic impact of the deal on Britain's economy is expected to be negligible according to the country's own analyzes published last year.

The deal does, however, align with the UK's foreign policy push for more influence in the Indo-Pacific to try to moderate China's global dominance.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting