Text of the statement made by Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for International Trade, on 29 July 2020.
We are now one step closer to an ambitious, wide-ranging free trade agreement with one of our oldest friends. An FTA with New Zealand can bring investment, better jobs, higher wages and more affordable prices just when we need them the most. Both teams of negotiators recognised the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in and reiterated that more global trade is essential to support post-Covid economic recovery. Negotiations were conducted virtually and covered a comprehensive set of discussions across areas of a trade agreement.
The discussions covered:
Cross-cutting general provisions
Domestic Regional Economic Development
Trade in Goods and Trade Remedies
Good Regulatory Practice
Rules of Origin
Services, including Mobility
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
State Owned Enterprises
Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
State to State Dispute Settlement
Technical Barriers to Trade
Trade and Development
Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment
Discussions between negotiators were productive and reflected our shared ambition to secure a comprehensive deal to boost trade and investment between our like-minded economies. Teams discussed their respective objectives and agreed a forward plan for future talks. Our positive discussions in round one have laid the groundwork for the UK and New Zealand to achieve high-quality outcomes across the agreement.
The UK and New Zealand are aligned in many areas which will enable us to make quick progress across many chapters. In discussions, both countries emphasised a desire to be particularly ambitious in areas including enhancing digital trade, boosting cross-border trade in services and investment, reducing uncertainty and burdens on exporters from customs procedures, and promoting good regulatory practices. Discussions also provided an opportunity for both teams to consider how we can work together across the agreement to support important agendas such as women’s economic empowerment, trade and development, indigenous trade, clean growth and climate action, and ensuring Small and Medium sized Enterprises can benefit from the FTA.
The Government is committed to negotiating a comprehensive agreement with New Zealand and we look forward to making further progress. The Government will make its next statement on progress following the second round of talks, which is currently planned to take place in October. We will explore the option of face-to-face negotiations when it is safe to do so.