Trade update March

Trade update March


One commentator has referred to the Brexit process post PM May’s letter seeking a timing extension as being “as clear as mud.”  This is absolutely accurate.

The EU said Britain could postpone its departure, due on March 29, until May 22 – if the UK Parliament approves Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal with the bloc next week. If the twice-rejected deal is thrown out again, the bloc says Britain has until April 12 to “indicate a way forward”. That said the UK Parliament still looks to be deeply divided on the way forward.

At this point it is impossible to say whether the UK will be able to begin FTA negotiations with New Zealand.

The tariffs announced for a post EU import regime demonstrate that the UK has decided to go protectionist on agriculture should Brexit occur.

This is most disappointing.


The last round of negotiations with the EU have demonstrated how difficult this negotiation is going to be.  The EU is playing tough on agriculture.  Exporters of agricultural products should be in contact with MFAT and MPI stressing the importance of a good outcome on agriculture and an expectation that New Zealand will keep negotiating until a good outcome is achieved.  The EU position on agriculture demonstrates how dangerous talk about a quick outcome in this negotiation may be.


The PM is due to visit China as early as 1 April.  This is a good sign.  Both China and New Zealand are trying to avoid differences and tensions spilling over into the public domain.  There is no evidence of any impact of Chinese displeasure at New Zealand Government actions on our trade relationship.

Pacific Alliance

No progress since our last report.


No progress since our last report.

China FTA Upgrade

Don’t expect much that is exciting.

22 Mar, 2019
| News

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