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Apples, wine, honey exports win in proposed UK free trade deal

24th August 2021 By Staff Reporter | | @foodtickernz

New Zealand apple, wine and honey exporters could be the biggest winners in a proposed free trade deal with the UK.

UK trade secretary Liz Truss met Damien O’Connor in London in June. Image: Liz Truss, Twitter

The UK government has given New Zealand food exporters first details of a post-Brexit free trade agreement between the two countries on products such as wine and honey, but not yet given particulars for the dairy or red meat sector.

A statement from the UK’s Department for International Trade said tariffs on exports of honey and apples would be cut, with more than $83m of the fruit exported from New Zealand in 2020 and more than $63m of honey sent across, with current tariffs of 8% and 16% respectively.

Tariffs on wine would also be slashed as part of the deal, removing a tariff of up to 20 pence a bottle.

In return, tariffs on British gin, chocolate, clothing and cars imported to New Zealand would be dropped.

Britain trade secretary Liz Truss said teams were working around the clock to get the deal done in the coming weeks, with both sides set to sign an agreement in principal by the end of the month.

“We are both big fans of each other’s high-quality products, so this could be a huge boost that allows British shoppers to enjoy lower prices and British exports to be even more competitive,” Truss said.

“New Zealand and the UK are natural partners united by modern values. An agreement would reflect those ideals and is a win-win for both countries.”

Truss said trade between the two countries was worth £2.3bn ($4.57bn) last year and would be expected to increase following a deal.

There was no mention of dairy or the ed meat sector, which has been calling for easier access to the UK for some time.

In June, Meat Industry Association chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said that the importance of an agreement with the UK, and then the EU, to New Zealand’s red meat sector could not be overstated.

“Improved access to the UK and the EU markets for our products, including sheepmeat, beef and co-products such as pet food, leather and processed meats, will provide significant returns to our sector,” she said.

New Zealand farmers and exporters were seeking improvements to beef access as part of the negotiations.

“We have strong historical ties with customers in both markets and have been exporting high-quality, safe and sustainable products there for nearly 140 years,” Karapeeva said.

“However, New Zealand’s beef access is limited by a small quota with a high in-quota tariff and we will be looking for significant improvements in this area.”

New Zealand’s minister for trade and export growth, Damien O’Connor, said it was pleasing to see public statements made by the UK.

“We continue to be ambitious and we’re optimistic of negotiating a high quality FTA with a traditional and trusted trading partner,” he said.

O’Connor added that the latest update from the UK indicated the British government’s commitment to progressing a free trade agreement with New Zealand.



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