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New International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan is poised to announce a multi-billion pound tie-up this week. It would see tariffs slashed on goods such as gin, chocolate, clothing, cars and buses, and allow level-playing field access for British investors to the country.
In return, British shoppers will be able to choose between a wider range of ‘high-end’ lamb from New Zealand, while levies of up to 20p a bottle on the country’s successful wine industry would also be slashed.
Tariffs of up to 10 percent on UK products would be dropped, giving British exporters an advantage over international rivals in the New Zealand import market, which is expected to grow by 30 percent by 2030.
Cars are the UK’s biggest export to New Zealand, with £133million-worth sold last year.
The NFU has said it supports the government’s objectives in its trade negotiations.
But the farmers union has concerns over the potential impact of trade deals that eliminate all tariffs on imports from the biggest agricultural exporters in the world, including New Zealand.
Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association, said he has long-term concerns.
“Our concern is the long-term impact,” he said. At the moment the global market is strong but if there is volatility then British producers of sheep meat would be the first to be hit. We would need measures in place to protect against that.”
Although British trade with New Zealand is only worth about £2.3billion a year, negotiators hope that it will help the UK to be accepted into a much larger trade bloc which includes Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam.
Ms Trevelyan held the first round of talks on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership last month.
The New Zealand deal is understood to be similar to the deal signed in June with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.