NZ mulls Australian trade advance with UK

  • 04/09/2016
Ausrtalian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (AAP)
Ausrtalian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (AAP)

New Zealand shouldn't be worried that Australia may get in ahead of it with a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK, a trade analyst says.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet her Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull at the G20 summit in China on Monday to shape the broad outline of what would be Britain's first new trade pact after Brexit, The Telegraph reports.

Australia, New Zealand and Canada will lend the UK government their own expert trade negotiators to help it, the report said.

Britons voted in June to leave the EU, which means links with other countries need to be reset.

Mr Turnbull told reporters on Sunday he was on a "unity ticket" with Mrs May on the FTA.

"We are well advanced," he said.

"We've got things moving towards having a free trade agreement with the UK... we're enthusiastic and supportive".

New Zealand International Business Forum executive director Stephen Jacobi told NZ Newswire the UK was keen to demonstrate it was pressing ahead so was possibly making more of what was happening than actually was.

"Having said that any time leaders get together and talk about things like FTAs it's not without significance," he said.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is not at the G20 meeting.

Until the UK leaves the EU it can't advance trade talks in a formal way, Mr Jacobi said.

"I think warm words and expressions of future direction are important. But there's a lot of work to do to put those warm words into a negotiating process," he said.

Britain had to resolve a number of policy issues before it could do a FTA, he said.

"What's their policy on agriculture going to be post Brexit," he asked.

A positive development in the trade relationship between the UK and Australia was not necessarily bad for New Zealand, he said.