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NZ 'important priority' for free trade agreement with UK post-Brexit, visiting official says

A free trade agreement between New Zealand and Britain "is a very important priority", says UK trade secretary Liz Truss, who met Trade Minister David Parker yesterday. 

Ms Truss also met Opposition Leader Simon Bridges and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters. 

"New Zealand is a huge priority in terms of the UK delivering our new free trade agenda," she told media today. "We are going to be leaving the EU on the 31st of October, with or without a deal, and as part of that agenda striking trade deals is going to be vitally important."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern publicly cemented New Zealand's desire for a trade agreement with Britain earlier this year, no matter the outcome of Brexit. 

She met with then-UK Prime Minister Theresa May in January to push for an agreement. 

Mr Parker said today he anticipated "quick progress" towards a new trade relationship post-Brexit. 

He said they discussed issues such as tariff rate quotas and New Zealand's position after negotiations. 

Ms Truss said she admired New Zealand's experience "in terms of striking free trade deals and opening up to trade around the world".

"Striking a [trade deal] with New Zealand is a very important priority for the UK, it’s one of the first trade deals we expect to strike. We are going to put the resources that we need to do into that.

"We have already held a consultation with the British public that got a very, very strong, position response. We are almost ready to start those negotiations."

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UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss met Trade Minister David Parker on Monday. Source: 1 NEWS