After Australia and Japan, the United Kingdom signed a free trade agreement with New Zealand. London wants to strengthen its trade relations in the Indo-Pacific region and try to join the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern have concretely reached the agreement in a video call on Wednesday, the British Foreign Office said in a press release. “It is an excellent free trade agreement for the United Kingdom, which cements our longstanding friendship with New Zealand and strengthens our relations in the Indo-Pacific region,” Johnson said in a press release.
The path is open for CPTPP?
The UK hopes that the FTA will also help it join the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (CPTPP), “a free trade area of 11 countries, with a combined GDP of $8.4 trillion in 2020,” according to the government. The CPTPP, signed by New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Japan, among others, is the most important free trade agreement in the region. The UK formally applied to join in February.
Since the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, London has signed free trade agreements with the European Union, Japan and Australia. It has already done so with European countries that are not part of the European Union, such as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
‘British farmers’ victim’
The British government said Wednesday’s deal with New Zealand “will reduce paperwork for companies, eliminate tariffs on British exports and create new opportunities for technology and services companies”. Trade with New Zealand last year appears to have been good for £2.3 billion.
The Social Democratic opposition, on the other hand, says the deal will only benefit “the huge corporations that run New Zealand’s meat and dairy farms”. The opposition said British farmers were the victims.