United Kingdom signed a free trade agreement with New Zealand. Foreign

After Australia and Japan, the United Kingdom has signed a free trade agreement with New Zealand. London wants to strengthen its trade ties 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 made the agreement more concrete in a video call on Wednesday local time, the British Ministry of Foreign Trade said in a press release. “This is an excellent free trade agreement for the United Kingdom, which seals our long-standing friendship with New Zealand and strengthens our ties in the Indo-Pacific region,” Johnson said in the press release.

The UK hopes the free trade agreement will also help it join the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (CPTPP). “A free trade zone of 11 countries, with a GDP of $8.4 trillion in 2020,” the government says. The CPTPP, signed by New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Japan, is the region’s most important free trade agreement. The United Kingdom formally applied to join in February.

Since the United Kingdom left 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.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the trade deal in Wellington. © AP

“Bad for British Farmers”

The British government said the deal with New Zealand would “reduce paperwork for businesses, eliminate customs duties on British exports and create new opportunities for technology and services companies.” According to the British government, trade with New Zealand was worth 2.3 billion pounds (about 2.73 billion euros) last year.

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On the other hand, the Social Democratic opposition says the deal will only benefit “New Zealand’s mega companies running meat and dairy farms”. According to the opposition, British farmers are its victims.

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