Post-Brexit New Zealand trade deal 'insignificant', ex-EU representative claims

23 October 2021, 16:07

By Seán Hickey

The UK's former permanent representative to the EU suggests that post-Brexit trade deals with New Zealand and Australia contribute little to the country's finances.

Matt Frei spoke to the UK's former permanent representative to the EU Sir Ivan Rogers as UK EU relations harden.

"What are the tangible benefits of Brexit ten months in?" Matt prodded the ex-diplomat.

Sir Ivan began by noting that "you're able, because you've left the customs union, to run your own sovereign trade policy" as a third country.

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He went on to tell Matt that UK negotiators are crossing t's on trade deals with New Zealand and Australia, set to add to the post-Brexit deals struck by now Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

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"Some of that I would find politically, clearly important, but economically relatively insignificant because those are relatively small trading partners in comparison to our big trading partners", Sir Ivan stressed.

In other matters pertaining to Brexit, he noted that government must decide to what extent does the UK want to diverge from the "rulebook of the European Union?"

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The former diplomat worried that the "downside is bigger than the upside".