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Late last night in London/early this morning in Wellington, it was announced that the UK and New Zealand had come to an agreement on a free trade deal between the two countries. The imminent agreement had been signaled earlier in the day (see 'UK: NEW ZEALAND: Speculation Mounts Of Imminent FTA Announcement' 0951BST 20/10).
- The deal sees tariffs on many exports removed, although there will be a phasing out of tariffs on NZ lamb exports to the UK over 15 years to avoid undue shock for Welsh lamb farmers.
- As has been widely noted, the deal will provide only a marginal boost to the UK economy given the small percentage of trade the UK does with New Zealand.
- Nevertheless, the agreement of a deal could pave the way for the UK's eventual joining of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Asia-Pacific trade bloc that the UK gov't has expressly stated its long-term intention to join.
- With the UK seeking deals with Australia and Canada alongside NZ, the hope in Westminster seems to be to get as many CPTPP member states signed up to bilateral deals as possible to smooth the eventual shift to full membership.