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EU, Commonwealth trade prospects mooted

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/03/2017
Todd McClay © Fiona Goodall/Getty Images Todd McClay

Trade Minister Todd McClay is heading to Brussels to push for a free-trade deal with the European Union before he heads to London to court post-Brexit Britain, via the Commonwealth.

His trip comes as academics and commentators ask if trade collaboration across the Commonwealth could be an alternative to the EU for Britain.

Mr McClay is going to the first Commonwealth Trade Ministers meeting in London next week, where there will be an opportunity for a bilateral meeting with British Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox.

"This is an excellent chance to discuss the direct trade opportunities that arise for New Zealand in a post-Brexit environment," Mr McClay says.

"The simple aim of my visit to Brussels is to meaningfully advance efforts to commence our FTA negotiations with the EU."

Polling done by the Royal Commonwealth Society ahead of the London meeting showed 79 per cent of British businesses are keen on a trade deal with New Zealand, media report.

Meanwhile, 90 per cent of British businesses think their government should prioritise trade with Australia, putting it top of their list.

Canada and Singapore are a joint second priority for business leaders at 82 per cent, with New Zealand close behind.

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