Jacinda Ardern signs deal with British PM Theresa May

Author
Newstalk ZB ,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 22 January 2019, 8:04a.m.
New Zealand Prime Minister meets her British counterpart Theresa May at 10 Downing Street. Photo / AP

New Zealand and Britain have signed an agreement which gives certainty to New Zealand businesses if Britain leaves the European Union with no plan in place.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met her British counterpart Theresa May at 10 Downing St early today (NZT) to reiterate New Zealand's interest in pursuing a free trade agreement following Brexit.

Ardern told reporters after the meeting that a mutual recognition agreement had been signed.

It is similar to one Australia signed with Britain for the same reason.

"Essentially what that will mean for New Zealand business is that they will be no worse off, regardless of scenario, from the day any Brexit arrangements come into force," Ardern said.

"It means that our businesses can continue with confidence, knowing that our products will continue to be treated in the same way in the UK here that they are by, for instance, the EU.

"It gives that certainty that I think our businesses and our exporters, particularly our meat producers, will be looking for."

Ardern called the agreement an "interim undertaking" but it was "incredibly important from our perspective that the moment we see the final response on Brexit that we are able to see our businesses continue to operate here in the UK in the way they currently are able to".

Trade Consultant with Saunders Unsworth, Charles Finney, told Mike Hosking the deal is a good start.

"There's been good news, in terms of standards that apply to our products, so basically what we have with EU will apply to the UK."

"But that still doesn't solve the problems of tariff treatment, it doesn't solve the problem of potential chaos at the border and we still have some questions about the quota arrangements that we negotiated years ago with the EU."

"So there's still some uncertainty there but good news overnight on the mutual recognition fund."

He said this deal shows that New Zealand, the Europen Union and the United Kingdom are all still open to trade.

"There's still probably work ahead in terms of negotiations but nobody wants chaos."

"We have already started our free trade agreement with the EU and we have to be careful with how we play it, but so far there doesn't seem to be any suggestions of incrimination by the EU should, if there is a hard Brexit, the UK start negotiating a free trade agreement with New Zealand."

Britain is due to leave the European Union on March 29.

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