The UK and New Zealand have signed a “comprehensive” free trade deal cutting red tape and costs for British businesses.

The agreement is expected to boost trade between the two regions by £800 million a year.

According to the Government, the “far-reaching” deal will “remove trade barriers” on a huge range of UK goods and services, such as clothing, financial services, and plant and machinery.

For example, tariffs will be scrapped on all UK exports to New Zealand – including the 10 per cent tariff on clothing and footwear and the five per cent tariff on buses, ships, bulldozers, and excavators.

Modernised customs procedures, meanwhile, will make it easier for small businesses to break into the New Zealand market. This includes digital documents that will clear customs in as little as six hours.

In addition, workers in the financial and professional services will be able to work in New Zealand more easily and bring their families with them.

Other benefits include:

  • Red tape is being slashed for the 5,900 UK SMEs who export goods to New Zealand
  • Guarantees for small businesses who will benefit from practical advice and support to find opportunities and link to commercial partners in New Zealand
  • Flexible rules of origin that will give British exporters an advantage over international rivals in the New Zealand import market
  • New Zealand products, such as Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Manuka Honey and kiwi fruit, will be cheaper to import

Commenting on the agreement, International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “This deal will slash red tape, remove all tariffs and make it easier for our services companies to set up and prosper in New Zealand.”

Mike Cherry, FSB National Chair, added: “New Zealand is a key market for UK small businesses – close to a third of smaller exporters already have ties to the nation. As such, this deal marks a great step forward, and we are pleased to see inclusion of a dedicated SME chapter that will help more small businesses from both countries to take part in international trade and, in doing so, spur our global economic recovery.”

The latest statistics show that UK-New Zealand trade was worth £2.3 billion in 2020. But the new deal could boost trade by nearly 60 per cent – around £800 million a year.

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