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The UK completed the latest round of free trade talks with New Zealand last week and Ms Truss said the two countries are “closing in on a deal which would be one of the most advanced struck by any nation”.
There is excitement that a successful deal will turbo-charge efforts to win membership of a £9trillion trans-Pacific free trade area and open up new markets for British exports.
Eleven countries including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam are members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
A Government source said: “New Zealand will be the next big deal Liz does. It’s valuable in its own right, but it also paves the way for us to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will deepen Britain’s links with the fastest-growing parts of the global economy.
“The Kiwis show it’s possible to have zero tariffs and high standards, and are exactly the sort of country we should be pursuing a deal with. Liz is pushing hard to get a deal over the line.”
Ms Truss told the Sunday Express: “The centre of global economic gravity is moving towards the Indo-Pacific, which is where we need to position ourselves in the coming decades… A deal with New Zealand would clear the way for us to join it alongside 10 other sovereign nations in this high-standards pact.
“Membership would open up a collective market of half a billion people across four continents, which would offer vast opportunities for our exports such as Midlands-made cars, Welsh lamb or Glasgow-based fintech.”
The South West Norfolk MP wants Britain to establish “closer bonds with trusted allies to strengthen the global alliance of democracies who believe in free and fair trade”.
The prospect of nailing down the New Zealand deal and securing membership of CPTPP has stirred excitement in Tory ranks.
Former Brexit minister David Jones said: “It’s been clear for a number of years that the EU is accounting for an ever-decreasing share of world trade. Brexit now gives us the opportunity to forge closer trading relations with the dynamic economies of the Indo-Pacific region, which will become increasingly important in world trade terms over the coming years.”
Nickie Aiken, the Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, said: “It would be such an achievement to secure trade deals across all four continents and testament to the outstanding work that Liz Truss and her team have undertaken since Brexit. The UK jobs that each trade deal brings are even more important as we recover from the pandemic”
Andrea Jenkyns, who represents Morley and Outwood for the Conservatives, said: “We are living in an increasingly globalised world, and with this comes ever more opportunities to trade with other nations, creating jobs and opportunities for people across the UK. I know from having spoken to companies in my own seat just how eager they are to see trade deals being signed and tariffs struck down, and I know that our phenomenal team at the Department for International Trade will secure the best deals possible for business the length and breadth of the UK.”
Lichfield Conservative MP Michael Fabricant said: “Global Britain could only be achieved after Brexit and now the exciting prospect of trade agreements exists spanning all five continents across the world from Britain to New Zealand. Our potential is once again being achieved as we shed the ball and chain of European bureaucracy.”
James Sunderland, the Conservative MP for Bracknell, said: “I welcome the prospect of new free trade deals right across the Pacific Region. In this exciting post-Brexit era, what a fantastic opportunity for the UK to be a true global trading power once again and to take advantage of so many new and untapped markets. Our superb exports have been undersold for years so trade we must.”
Richard Holden, North West Durham’s Conservative MP, said: “Liz Truss is powering ahead and delivering what many said would be impossible – better terms of trade across the world for Britain, now we’re out of the EU. Securing a deal with New Zealand will open the door to the CPTPP which is not only a vast new market network but will also help diversify our world trade base and help make the UK more prosperous and secure.”
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Liz Truss Op-ed
New Zealand may be over eleven thousand miles away from the United Kingdom, but it could not be closer as a friend and ally. Our like-minded democracies share core values, deep history and a pioneer spirit.
When New Zealanders and Brits join forces, they achieve momentous results: from Ernest Rutherford splitting the atom in Manchester and Edmund Hillary climbing Mount Everest as part of a British expedition to Peter Jackson bringing Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings to cinematic life in New Zealand.
The UK and New Zealand are natural trading partners. We are united in our liberalising and pro-growth approach, which is underpinned by a fierce dedication to high standards and the rule of law. But the fact is we are not as close in trade as we should be.
As a newly independent trading nation, the UK can take its relationship with New Zealand to the next level by negotiating a free trade agreement. After concluding our sixth round of talks this week, we are now closing in on a deal which would be one of the most advanced struck by any nation.
Securing a deal with New Zealand would send the strongest signal yet about our future as an independent trading nation: forging closer bonds with trusted allies to strengthen the global alliance of democracies who believe in free and fair trade.
Together, we will embrace the opportunities of the global marketplace to support jobs, enterprise and wealth creation at home. We will fuel our recovery from the Covid crisis through free trade and demonstrate that it is part of the solution to the greatest challenges of our time.
We will ensure a deal between the UK and New Zealand reflects our shared values in a modern partnership by agreeing on advanced chapters on critical areas like climate change and digital trade. As the UK prepares to host the Cop26 climate change summit, we can deepen our work with New Zealand through a deal which drives sustainable growth by promoting clean technology, green goods and services – which I know Prime Minister Ardern and our New Zealand friends care deeply about.
Technology is defining the opportunities of the future, which the UK is perfectly placed to capitalise on as the world’s second-largest services exporter and Europe’s top destination for tech investment.
We know exporters increasingly rely on data and e-commerce to do business. This means by pushing new frontiers with New Zealand in areas like data and digital, we would support the whole of our trading relationship worth £2.3 billion last year. At the same time, it would be a big step forward in our mission to lead the world in digital and services trade.
An agreement would not just support our shared values but also the shared tastes of our consumers with top value and choice in shops. That means New Zealanders stand to benefit when enjoying the best of British produce like Yorkshire gin or Scottish shortbread biscuits, while our consumers can snap up more of New Zealand’s finest like Sauvignon Blanc wine and Manuka honey.
We know that the UK is one of the most popular destinations for New Zealand’s investors. We want to reach a deal which opens the door to a new wave of investment, which would help level up the country by supporting more high-quality jobs and new businesses in forward-leaning industries.
A deal would not just benefit the UK here and now, but also in the longer term by helping us to embrace the parts of the world where the richest opportunities lie. The centre of global economic gravity is moving towards the Indo-Pacific, which is where we need to position ourselves in the coming decades. That is why we are negotiating our accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
A deal with New Zealand would clear the way for us to join it alongside ten other sovereign nations in this high-standards pact. Membership would open up a collective market of half a billion people across four continents, which would offer vast opportunities for our exports such as Midlands-made cars, Welsh Lamb or Glasgow-based fintech. We would also help champion open and rules-based trade as part of CPTPP, setting the standard with modern rules fit for 21st-century commerce.
The terms of our membership to CPTPP would uphold our world-class standards, from animal welfare and food safety to labour rights, as will any deal we strike with New Zealand under our values-driven approach. Embracing such opportunities overseas will also be immensely valuable economically by supporting new jobs, growth and prosperity across the UK.
Fundamentally, a deal with New Zealand would mark a new chapter in our relationship in which we work closer to grasp the opportunities of modern trade. By harnessing the full power of free trade and free enterprise, we will build back better, stronger and greener than ever.
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