NZ already hammering UK, EU over trade

  • 26/06/2016
Trade Minister Todd McClay
Trade Minister Todd McClay

It may take years for Britain to extricate itself from the European Union but both sides will have New Zealand chirruping away in their ears about continued trade access.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says that even ahead of Thursday's Brexit vote he had sought and received assurances from United Kingdom and EU officials access rules would not change until new ones were negotiated.

"We will continue to talk to both sides, with the aim of ensuring that the quality and the value of our access to both the EU and UK markets is retained," Mr McClay said in a statement today.

He was already seeking meetings with UK and EU trade meetings to discuss Britain's exit from the union.

He also expected to meet EU ministers at the G20 meeting in Shanghai next month, where he hoped to talk with them about New Zealand's best way forward.

New Zealand is already trying to set up a free-trade deal with the EU.

Mr McClay did not expect those discussions to be significantly affected.

"A lot of important work has been put in by both sides over the past 12 months. New Zealand has a significant number of supporters in the EU and we retain a strong relationship with the UK."

Mr McClay noted it could take two years to negotiate Britain's exit from the EU - with commentators suggesting that a final Brexit could be five or six years away.

"In the meantime, it is important for exporters to be assured that our economic relationship with the UK and Europe will remain the same for the foreseeable future."

New Zealand exports about $8b worth of goods to the EU each year and $1.5b to the UK, mostly sheep meat, fruit and wine.