(Change purchase, add background)
Reuters, July 31-The UK Trade Department said on Saturday that the UK is about to reach an agreement in principle on a free trade agreement with New Zealand because London hopes to strengthen post-Brexit trade relations with non-EU partners.
The EU is the UK’s largest single trading partner. The two sides have signed a post-Brexit trade agreement, but business groups said that due to Brexit, they still face additional red tape when dealing with European customers and suppliers.
The Minister of Trade Liz Truss stated that “great progress” was made during the sixth round of discussions from July 19 to 30.
The ministry said that the trade agreement with New Zealand may eliminate tariffs on British and New Zealand goods, thereby providing products at lower prices.
It added that the deal will also enable SMEs to export more goods and services to New Zealand.
“We are close to reaching an agreement in principle, and now there are six chapters that have been completed,” Truss said.
In June, the United Kingdom was allowed to begin the process of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade group composed of 11 countries.
In June, the UK Trade Department also expressed confidence in its trade negotiations with New Zealand, and stated that its goal is to reach an “exceptional” agreement in August.
(Reporting by Akriti Sharma and Aakriti Bhalla in Bangalore; Additional reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bangalore; Editing by Richard Pullin and Jason Neely)