The UK is nearing an agreement in principle on a free trade deal with New Zealand following the sixth round of discussions between the two countries.
International trade secretary Liz Truss said that “great progress” had been made in the most recent talks, which ran from July 19-30.
A statement from Truss emphasised the shared values, long history and commitment to free trade between the UK and New Zealand, reports Sky.
“I want a modern agreement that pushes new frontiers in areas like green and digital trade,” said Truss.
A trade agreement could see the removal of tariffs on UK and New Zealand goods, making products traded between the countries available to consumers at lower prices.
The Department for International Trade also claims the deal will enable SMEs to export more goods and services to New Zealand.
According to City AM, trade between the two countries was worth £2.3bn in 2020.
As well as improving trade, it is also hoped that the deal with will speed up the UK’s admission to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which it applied to join in January.
However, the deal has re-stoked tensions with UK farmers, who are still smarting from the recent Australia trade deal.
The agricultural sector has argued that tariff-free trade with countries like New Zealand could see UK domestic produce undercut by cheap imports, leading to a lowering of environmental and animal welfare standards.