Published: 30 MAR 2022

Once ratified, the new Free Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom promises to cut red tape, boost New Zealand exports, and advance climate change legislation.

On 28 February or 1 March, depending on which country you were in at the time, New Zealand and the United Kingdom formally signed the NZ–UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Formal negotiations began in June 2020, only a few months after the United Kingdom left the European Union, with an agreement in principle reached on 20 October 2021.  

The fact that such a comprehensive, high-quality agreement has been concluded in less than two years (COVID-19 years, no less) demonstrates the already close nature of our two nations, and the mutual desire to do a lot more together, economically. 

Benefits both immediate and long-term 

While it has been formally signed in London by the New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Damien O’Connor, and the United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the agreement must still be ratified by both parliaments before coming into effect. However, according to the official website of the New Zealand government, once the agreement is in force: 

  • 99.5 per cent of New Zealand’s current trade with the UK will be immediately free of tariffs. 
  • The boost to New Zealand’s GDP will be between $700 million and $1 billion. 
  • New Zealand exporters will save approximately $37 million per year on tariff elimination alone from day one. 
  • There is significant new duty-free quota access for beef, sheep meat, butter and cheese, with all quotas and tariffs on these goods removed after five to 15 years.  
  • This is New Zealand’s first bilateral trade agreement to include a specific article on climate change and includes provisions towards eliminating environmentally harmful subsidies, such as those for fossil fuels, and those for fisheries that lead to overfishing. 
  • The FTA also includes a ground-breaking Māori Trade and Economic Cooperation chapter that will create a platform for cooperation on issues important to Māori. 

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited looks forward to working with Auckland companies, and our friends and colleagues at the UK Department for International Trade (DIT), to lever this new FTA, identifying opportunities and creating positive outcomes for Tāmaki Makaurau. 

Find out more

Contact International Specialist Paul Wilkinson to learn more about doing business in Auckland, New Zealand.