Free Trade Agreement


Following the Brexit Referendum in the UK in June 2016, the UK and New Zealand governments agreed to implement a Trade Policy Dialogue to prepare the way for entering into a formal Free Trade Agreement once the UK had formally left the EU. After a number of Trade Policy Dialogue meetings and calls for public submissions in both countries, FTA negotiations were launched on 17th June 2020. Following 6 rounds of negotiations, all held virtually due to Covid restrictions, on the 20th October 2021 an  Agreement in Principle was announced. On the 28th February in London the two countries signed the Agreement and have begun the processes needed to enable the FTA to go live later this year or early next year. A timeline can be found here.

Public Submissions

Between November 2018 and February 2019 the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade asked for public submissions on a future New Zealand- United Kingdom FTA. A summary of those submissions can be found here and the individual submissions here.

Between July and October 2018 the UK's Department for International Trade held a public consultation on a potential FTA with New Zealand. A summary of the responses received can be found here. Further input was received via the UK Government's Strategic Trade Advisory Group and its network of Trade Advisory Groups which both support the development of the UK's trade policies and negotiations.

The Free Trade Agreement

On 28th February 2022, New Zealand and the United Kingdom signed the FTA. A full transcript of the Agreement can be found here.

The key benefits of the FTA from the New Zealand perspective can be found here and from the UK perspective here

Progress to date

New Zealand Trade Minister Damien O'Connor introduced to Parliament the United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill on 22 June 2022 for its first reading. The purpose of this omnibus bill is to amend New Zealand law as part of implementing the FTA between New Zealand and the UK. The Bill will need to be progressed through a Select Committee, a second reading and then the Committee of the Whole House stage before its third reading and then receiving Royal Assent. The full Bill can be read here

In the UK the Queen's Speech made on 10 May 2022 announced that one of the new pieces of legislation to be presented to Parliament during the next year will be the Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill. This Bill will be a key element in ratifying these two trade agreements which are the first that the UK has negotiated from scratch since leaving the EU. Before the agreements can come into force:

  • Parliament must formally scrutinise the agreements under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act.
  • The Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill has to be agreed by Parliament.
  • Necessary secondary legislation has to be passed by Parliament to make the changes required to the procurement regime to meet the terms of the Agreements.

Other Items of Interest

Video of call between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on announcing the Agreement in Principle. 

Letter from H.E. Laura Clarke OBE, British High Commissioner to New Zealand, on the signed Agreement

Video of H.E. Laura Clarke OBE, British High Commissioner to New Zealand, discussing the FTA with the BNZBA





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