Over the course of this round, negotiators carried out over 40 sessions across the Free Trade Agreement. Twenty-five new texts were exchanged before the round – building on the 35 texts shared prior to the second round – allowing for more detailed discussions.
Good progress was made building on the constructive relationship established in the first two rounds. Discussions were pragmatic and identified considerable areas of convergence. Negotiators on both sides continued to recognise high levels of alignment and commonality in objectives; this has led to many chapters moving to consolidated text.
Both the UK and New Zealand also continue to engage stakeholders to ensure our respective proposals are informed by their views.
Both sides exchanged their initial goods market access offers before the round. This exchange of goods market access offers is an early milestone, and the speed at which this stage has been reached demonstrates the momentum behind these negotiations.
There continues to be rapid progress on areas of shared ambition, one result of which was the provisional agreement of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises chapter. This chapter aims to ensure that SMEs will be provided with the information necessary to take informed business decisions and to take advantage of the opportunities created by this agreement. It will also address priority asks of the SME businesses, including increased transparency on rules and regulations, and international cooperation.
We have seen progress towards agreement on text in a large parts of various chapters notably Customs, Good Regulatory Practice, Rules of Origin and Procurement, with aims to exchange initial procurement market access offers ahead of Round 4. We have also seen considerable progress made in Competition, Remedies, and Disputes.
We have continued productive discussions on sustainability issues and shared Environment text on both sides, including on environmental goods and services, which reiterates the opportunity to support clean growth for both countries through a Free Trade Agreement.
We have also agreed to several intersessional discussions, including the Investment chapter as well as the State-to-State Dispute Settlement chapter, to ensure the pace is continued heading into the next round. Discussions on a second market access offer will continue in parallel with discussions across the Free Trade Agreement.
By the start of the fourth round, we expect the majority of text proposals to have been tabled. This will enable the shape of the agreement to become clear for both sides as well as supporting progress to close further chapters.
The UK and New Zealand both remain eager to continue the momentum of discussions, and the fourth negotiating round is expected to start in April.
Below is a summary list of those areas discussed in the round, which continued to take place by video conference:
• Consumer Protection
• Environment and Clean Growth
• Financial Services
• Good Regulatory Practice
• Indigenous Trade
• Intellectual Property
• Legal and Institutional
• Rules of Origin
• Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
• Services (including Professional Business Services, Transport and Delivery Services, and Movement of Natural Persons)
• Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
• State Owned Enterprises
• State to State Dispute Settlement
• Technical Barriers to Trade
• Trade and Development
• Trade in Goods
• Trade Remedies
Any deal the UK Government agrees will be fair and balanced and in the best interests of the whole of the UK. We remain committed to upholding our high environmental, labour, food safety and animal welfare standards in our trade agreement with New Zealand, as well as protecting the National Health Service (NHS).