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Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Economy

First published:
28 February 2022
Last updated:

I note the announcement made by the UK Government on 28 February that negotiations for a UK-New Zealand free trade agreement (FTA) have concluded.

New Zealand is the 48th largest goods export destination for Wales and the 61st largest goods import market, with the value of goods trade amounting to £40.2m for the year ending September 2021.

Engagement with the UK Government throughout negotiations has been predominately positive and officials have been able to make our views on the New Zealand trade deal known over the last year. We have also been in dialogue with stakeholders across sectors in Wales throughout the negotiations period, to understand the opportunities and risks a trade deal may present for Welsh industries.

There are some potential benefits to Wales from the deal. The Services chapters in the Agreement are positive and lock in market access. Ambitious provisions on short-term business travel (mobility) will make it easier and clearer for business persons to provide services in New Zealand.  The Digital chapter is forward leaning, prohibiting unjustified data localisation, de-coupling this from market access and recognising the importance of emerging technologies.  Professional services and the recognition of professional qualifications have a separate annex reflecting the importance of both in underpinning services trade.

However, we remain concerned about the continuing pattern of granting countries significantly greater tariff free access to our market for agricultural goods. The Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs) agreed in the deal for beef, sheep meat and dairy products represent a significant increase to existing TRQs. Whilst New Zealand does not currently make use of its existing TRQs, there may be impact on Welsh producers in the future should New Zealand start to fill its quotas. The Welsh Government has made clear our concerns about the cumulative impact granting increased market access in FTAs could have on our own producers and the precedent these agreements may set for negotiations with other trading partners.

My officials will be scrutinising the full details of the deal and will publish a Wales focused assessment once this analysis work is complete. In addition, we will continue to engage with stakeholders in Wales to understand their thoughts on the impact of the deal.