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Minister to complete final steps of UK trade deal negotiations

1News | 25 February 2022

Minister to complete final steps of UK trade deal negotiations

By Anna Whyte

O’Connor said he will "travel to the UK and meet with Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan, to progress the bilateral trade relationship, including to complete the final steps of our free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations".

New Zealand and the UK agreed in principle on a free trade deal in October last year, which could be worth $1 billion to the New Zealand economy.

He will then travel to Belgium "to progress towards conclusion of negotiations on the European Union-New Zealand FTA".

“In particular it would benefit our primary sector, the backbone of our economy, as well as those engaged in transport and professional services.

"The lack of an FTA remains a noticeable gap in our otherwise excellent relationship. During this visit I will be underlining New Zealand’s expectations, including with respect to goods market access, and our strong commitment to work with the EU to conclude the negotiations as soon as possible.”

An FTA with the EU has stalled. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced earlier this month she would be leading trade visits this year to Australia, Asia, the US and Europe. She held talks over the summer on a potential agreement, saying "our eye is on the prize with the European Union this year".

O’Connor would then go to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, and then on to Saudi Arabia, which he described as "one of our fastest growing export markets".

In February 2021, 1News revealed Air NZ had been helping the Saudi Arabian military despite it fuelling a humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Senior political reporter Benedict Collins revealed that the company’s business unit, Gas Turbines, which specialises in servicing military marine engines and turbines, had been supporting the Saudi Navy.

 source: 1News