Today the Secretary of State for International Trade, Rt Hon Liam Fox, and the New Zealand Minister of Trade, Hon Todd McClay, agreed to establish a bilateral trade policy dialogue. The dialogue will complement the existing UK-New Zealand strategic dialogue on foreign policy.
Minister McClay said:
The UK is an important partner for New Zealand and we want to build on that in the years ahead.
Today, Secretary Fox and I have agreed to set up a regular trade policy dialogue between our senior officials. This is modelled on the annual strategic dialogue we have, which allows the UK and New Zealand to share expertise on foreign policy matters.
New Zealand has already sent officials to the UK to talk about how we have set up our systems in government to pursue a strong and open trade policy, and this dialogue would take that further.
The UK is a major trading partner for New Zealand, and we have signalled our interest in a free trade agreement with them when they are in a position to negotiate one independently of the European Union. In the meantime, we hope this dialogue will allow us to develop a better understanding of one another’s trade interests.
International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, said:
In leaving the EU, we have the opportunity to drive even greater openness and put Britain at the forefront of global trade.
This new trade policy dialogue reflects a strong political commitment from New Zealand and the UK to take the lead in pushing for greater global trade liberalisation and reform and I look forward to working closely with them.
The trade policy dialogue will be convened at senior officials’ level and cover market access and trade policy issues of mutual interest, including World Trade Organization (WTO) processes and current and prospective negotiations. The first meeting will take place by early 2017, with subsequent talks to be held roughly every 6 months.