On 20 October, Boris Johnson and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made a free trade agreement. Since then, a call has been made for further evidence regarding the deal to be re-opened.
The House of Lords International Agreements Committee called for more evidence on 26 October, and a committee will now consider it to decide how to proceed with the negotiations.
The free trade agreement
In the comprehensive free trade deal made last week, highlights included terms to cut red tape, end tariffs on UK exports, and increase opportunities for British residents to work in New Zealand. There was also talk of ways to cooperate with climate change measures and facilitate trade for smaller technology and services companies (which make up a large segment of the UK economy).
The deal was a culmination of talks that have lasted more than 16 months following the UK’s departure from the European Union and is said to be worth at least £2.3 billion.
What to expect
The International Agreements Committee is responsible for scrutinizing potential treaties, which is a routine part of the process for putting a new agreement through Parliament.
Anyone can submit evidence as part of the call, with a public call for evidence made on Twitter and on the committee’s website. There are currently calls for evidence regarding trade deals with Australia, the US, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Some of the questions to examine include:
- Whether the agreement aligns with the interests of the UK and devolved nations
- What to expect from the consumer protection chapter
- Whether there will be enough protection for UK artists, performers, and products under the IP chapter
- The likely impact on farmers and the agricultural sector
- How tariff and non-tariff barriers will impact UK manufacturers (especially in the automotive, machinery, and textile industries)
Looking to the future
The results of this latest call to evidence will significantly impact how the agreement and future relations with New Zealand manifest. Experts will be closely watching for new developments.