The United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill had its first reading in Parliament in Wellington yesterday, passing with 107 votes for and 12 against.
The opposition came from the Green and Māori parties.
Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor said the elimination of tariffs and the new levels of ambition in inclusive and sustainable trade, including outcomes for Māori, women in trade, and the environment, make the UK FTA a gold-standard agreement.
“It’s one of the best deals we’ve ever negotiated and will boost our economy by up to $1 billion and provide us further economic security,” O’Connor said.
Negotiations were launched on the UK FTA in June 2020 and reached agreement in principle in October last year.
Once both New Zealand and the UK have completed their ratification processes, the FTA can come into force.
“This is an excellent deal that was negotiated at a good pace, with much of it done virtually through the pandemic,” O’Connor said.
“We aim to complete New Zealand’s ratification processes by the end of this year.
“Our trade agenda has very good momentum. Under this Labour-led government we’ve brought three FTAs into force in the form of CPTPP, RCEP and PACER Plus. We’ve completed negotiations on our FTA with the European Union, which will increase our exports to the EU by up to $1.8b once fully implemented. In addition to this, we’ve upgraded our FTAs with China and Singapore.
“During this time the proportion of New Zealand’s goods and services exported to countries with which we have an FTA has gone from just over half five years ago to nearly three-quarters,” O’Connor said.
The UK Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill can be read here.