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NZ trade deals safe from Brexit: McClay

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/07/2016

Britain's departure from the European Union shouldn't harm New Zealand's trade deals with either side, the government says.

New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay met with officials from both the UK and the EU at the G20 trade ministers meeting in Shanghai over the weekend.

EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom had confirmed proposed free trade talks between New Zealand and European Union wouldn't be derailed, Mr McClay said.

Meanwhile, he said New Zealand would also begin negotiating a deal with Britain - which has to replace its current EU-negotiated free trade agreements when it leaves the union - as soon as the UK was in a place to do so.

"Timing of a bilateral agreement would be dependent on discussions the UK must first have with the EU, but we agreed that it is in the interests of both the UK and New Zealand to negotiate a high-quality agreement."

New Zealand would be available to provide help to Britain over the coming months, Mr McClay said.

He said he'd been given "strong assurances" by global leaders at the G20 meeting in Shanghai over the weekend that the country's trade relationship with the EU and the UK won't be hurt by the Brexit.

"New Zealand will be involved in any discussions between the EU and UK in relation to anything that involves our trade."

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