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National Party Trade Spokesperson Todd McClay welcomes news that the Prime Minister will prioritise discussions about a free trade deal with the European Union and a Post Brexit Trade talks with the UK as part of her visit to Europe and London this week.

Mr McClay says the UK confirmed in February last year that New Zealand would be ‘first cab off the rank for a trade deal’, with negotiations expected to commence early next year.

“It is also my expectation that unless something disastrous happens, the European Council of Ministers will meet at the end of May to give the European Commission permission to formally start negotiations for a free trade agreement with New Zealand,” Mr McClay says.

“This is very good news for New Zealand and comes after more than five years of discussions and hard work under the previous National Government.

“An FTA with the EU will be worth billions of dollars a year and has the potential to create thousands more jobs for New Zealanders.

“It’s encouraging to see that the Prime Minister will be placing the EU-NZ and UK-NZ FTAs high on her European agenda, however some EU countries will still likely have questions about New Zealand’s position on Russia.

“Given her Government’s unusual enthusiasm for a Russian trade deal, the Prime Minister must very clearly explain New Zealand’s position to avoid any doubt about our commitment to formal trade talks with the EU and UK.

“It’s important that the Prime Minister gives them a clear answer and assures them that an EU trade deal and UK FTA is a real priorities for New Zealand.”

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