The Sunday Telegraph
Turn progress into results, Truss to tell New Zealand
THE International Trade Secretary will press her Australasian counterparts to “turn momentum into results” this week as the UK closes in on post-Brexit agreements with Australia and New Zealand.
Liz Truss said British firms stood to gain better access to New Zealand, while consumers face cheaper wine, as she prepared to meet Damien O’Connor, the country’s trade minister, in London.
Sources close to Ms Truss said she would urge Mr O’Connor to “give us more” on areas such as better access for British service suppliers in New Zealand, and enabling more workers to operate in each other’s nation. One source claimed that recent progress on a deal with Australia had “put a bit of pressure on New Zealand to play catch-up”.
Whitehall officials believe that the post-Brexit trade deal with Australia could be signed as soon as this week, during a trip by Scott Morrison, its prime minister, to the UK for the G7 summit.
Ms Truss will hold her first face-toface discussions with Mr O’Connor as part of the fifth round of trade talks between the two countries, in the Foreign Office on Wednesday and Thursday.
A source close to Ms Truss said: “It’s the first time the two ministers have met in person and that is significant because it always takes face-to-face political meetings to unblock the trickiest issues.
“The progress we’ve made with Australia has put a bit of pressure on New Zealand to play catch-up. They’ll need to give us more on services, mobility and investment if they want a deal and Liz will be pressing them hard on that. People can expect this agreement to go further than any we had as part of the EU.”
Last night Ms Truss said: “We’ve made great progress so far, but I want to intensify negotiations and move closer to a deal that works for both nations. Both sides are keen to turn momentum into results.”
Ms Truss hopes the Australia and New Zealand deals will pave the way for the UK to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the £9 trillion free trade area in which both countries are key players.