25 Dec 2020

Brexit: NZ to negotiate free-trade agreements with UK and EU

12:54 pm on 25 December 2020

The New Zealand Government has congratulated Britain and the European Union on the Brexit deal agreed this morning - four-and-a-half-years after the British people voted to leave the EU.

Nanaia Mahuta

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta says that in recent months the government has ramped up efforts to help New Zealand businesses prepare for the new era, deal or no deal.

"We warmly congratulate the UK and the EU on the announcement. We know this has not been an easy process and we acknowledge there are further steps before the agreement is formalised."

She says the government looks forward to negotiating free-trade agreements with both parties but in the meantime, the issue of preserving quota access in both markets must be resolved.

Both the UK and the EU have given assurances the deal will not leave New Zealand worse off.

"In 2021, we look forward to deepening our links both with the UK and the EU for the benefit of our respective peoples," Mahuta says.

"This includes negotiating high-quality and comprehensive free trade agreements with both the EU and the UK, consistent with Aotearoa New Zealand's Trade for All agenda. These remain priorities for this government."

Former trade negotiator Charles Finny says today's last-minute Brexit deal will be a massive relief for New Zealand exporters.

He says while there are positives and negatives in the deal for New Zealand, it's much better than no deal at all, which would have caused border chaos and export disruption.

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