United Kingdom

UK 'closing in' on free trade agreement with New Zealand

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Britain's Trade Minister Liz Truss walks after the ceremony of State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in London, Britain, May 11, 2021. REUTERS/John Sibley/Files

July 31 (Reuters) - Britain is nearing an agreement in principle on a free trade deal with New Zealand, its trade ministry said on Saturday, as London looks to bolster its post-Brexit trade ties with non-EU partners.

The European Union is Britain's single largest trade partner and the two sides have signed a post-Brexit trade pact, but business groups say they still face extra red tape dealing with European customers and suppliers as a result of Brexit. read more

Trade minister Liz Truss said that "great progress" had been made in a sixth round of discussions which ran from July 19-30.

A trade agreement with New Zealand could see the removal of tariffs on British and New Zealand goods making products available at lower prices, the ministry said.

A deal would also enable small and medium enterprises to export more goods and services to New Zealand, it added.

"We're closing in on an agreement in principle, with 6 more chapters now complete," Truss said.

In June Britain received a green light to start the process of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade bloc of 11 countries. read more

In June Britain's trade ministry also signalled confidence in its trade talks with New Zealand and said it aimed to conclude a "fantastic" agreement in August. read more

Reporting by Akriti Sharma and Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Additional Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin and Jason Neely

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