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National’s Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson Todd McClay has welcomed the United Kingdom’s decision to launch public consultations of a NZ-UK FTA but says a negotiation must also ensure better access for New Zealand workers and tourists to the UK.

“The UK market offers huge opportunity for Kiwi exporters. As New Zealand’s fifth largest trading partner with $6 billion worth of two-way trade annually, securing a high-quality FTA is important for our businesses and exporters and that’s why we worked so hard in Government to get it started.

“The UK first signalled that New Zealand would be a ‘first cab off the rank’ for a post-Brexit FTA in March of last year. The fact that New Zealand has been singled out as a priority shows we were right to engage with the UK Government so quickly after the Brexit vote. 

“The Government must make the most of the opportunity a trade negotiation presents. In particular it will be important that Kiwis gain better work visa access to the UK, and improved access for agricultural products.

“I also welcome the UK’s interest in joining the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

“Growing the membership of the TPP increases the value and benefits for the millions of people in TPP-countries.

“The TPP is a high quality deal structured to allow other countries to join. I encourage the UK Government to make the most of this opportunity.”

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