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New Zealand wants post-Brexit free trade deal ‘ASAP’ as PM says talks have already begun

THERESA MAY today outlined a “bold new” free trade agreement with New Zealand once Britain quits the EU.

The Prime Minister this afternoon met with New Zealand’s new prime minister Bill English in Downing Street as part of continuing trade talks between the two countries.Mrs May welcomed Mr English to Number 10 where they discussed the prospect of a trade deal once Britain leaves the EU.

The New Zealand prime minister said his country was ready to sign a “high-quality, comprehensive” free trade deal “as soon as possible” after Brexit is completed.

Theresa MaySKY NEWS

Theresa May met with New Zealand PM Bill English in Downing Street


Speaking at a joint press conference, Mrs May said: “While the UK remains in the EU we will work together to support an EU-New Zealand trade deal and we will also look to the future and how we can expand our trade and investment partnership.“Through our new bi-lateral trade dialogue we will push for greater global trade liberalisation and reform, share expertise and identify ways to strengthen our own trading relationship.

“The International Trade Secretary Liam Fox will visit New Zealand in the coming months to launch these important talks.

“In the longer term we agree on the potential for a bold, new UK-New Zealand free trade agreement and I look forward to starting early discussions on this in due course.”

Mrs May, who marked six months as Prime Minister today, highlighted how Britain and New-Zealand’s trading relationship was worth over £3billion last year, while the UK is New Zealand’s fifth-largest bi-lateral trading partner and second-largest foreign investor.

She added: “As two island nations we know that trade is essential to the prosperity of our countries and so it’s natural we share a firm deep-rooted belief in the power of free trade and open markets to drive economic progress and the importance of ensuring the benefits of growth are shared widely and fairly.”

The Prime Minister also revealed she had discussed upcoming Syria peace talks with Mr English, as well as Britain and New Zealand’s joint security efforts through the ‘Five Eyes’ network and “efforts to reinvigorate” the Commonwealth after Brexit.

Mr English insisted New Zealand’s relationship with Britain would “remain strong” as the UK quits the EU.He said: “We are here to work with both the UK and the EU and we’re ready to negotiate a high-quality free trade agreement with the UK when it is in a position to do so.

“We already have a strong and diversified trading relationship with the UK and a free trade agreement will build on that.

“We will seek a comprehensive and high-quality trade agreement because we know the benefits that free trade delivers.”

Amid fears US President-elect Donald Trump could pursue protectionist trade policies in America, Mr English said: “Alongside the UK we will continue to make the case for trade liberalisation in a world where there is a risk that it increasingly turns inward.”He praised Mrs May’s “clarity and determination” ahead of Brexit negotiations.

Asked how long he believed it would take the UK and New Zealand to sign a free trade deal, Mr English said: “We would hope we will be able to negotiate as soon as possible after the exit is completed.

“If the UK want to demonstrate they can negotiate a high-quality trade agreement then New Zealand is the ideal partner for that.”

Mrs May said: “We can’t formally sign up to free trade agreements while we remain a member of the EU but as I indicated earlier we are already starting discussions with New Zealand.”

PA

The leaders met in Downing Street


Britain and New Zealand have agreed to set up regular trade policy talks

But both leaders appeared to rule out the idea of a free movement area being negotiated between the UK and New Zealand or within the wider Commonwealth.Responding to a question about New Zealanders’ rights to live in the UK, Mrs May said: “We welcome the brightest and best to the UK, I think the figure shows that something like 97 per cent of visa applications from New Zealand are actually granted.

“There are a number of avenues in which New Zealanders are able to come here.

“It’s also important here in the UK we do ensure we have that control, we want to see net migration coming down because of the impact we feel it has on people here in the UK.”

Mr English described a Commonwealth free movement area as a “fairly adventurous idea”, adding: “We would be focussing in the first place on an agreement with the UK and I think what we can bring to that is the commitment to the values and principles of open trade but also a pretty wide range of experience.”

Earlier this week, the New Zealand prime minister met with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels ahead of the possible opening of free trade negotiations with the bloc.

He was also due to meet German chancellor Angela Merkel as part of his first overseas trip.

But Mr English, who took office last month following the resignation of his party leader John Key, faced warnings from rival politicians the EU’s huge farming lobby would mean a deal “isn’t going to go very far, very fast”.

Instead, the new prime minister was told by the populist New Zealand First party to make a UK trade deal a “priority” over an EU agreement.

Last year, Dr Fox revealed Britain and New Zealand had agreed to set up regular trade policy talks as the Government carries out Britain’s exit from the EU.

His Department for International Trade has been courting a number of non-EU countries around the world as it scopes out possible post-Brexit agreements.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/753857/Theresa-May-New-Zealand-prime-minister-Bill-English-Downing-Street-Brexit-free-trade-deal

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Jane Davies
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The UK government needs address the frozen state pension scandal which it inflicts on British citizens who retire to Commonwealth countries first. The UK government expects the taxpayers of these countries to subsidise UK pensioners and are freeloading off them. Commonwealth governments must insist this discrimination ends before agreeing to anything, now is the time to right this decades old injustice.

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