International

New trade deal will cement relationship with New Zealand

The UK and New Zealand have agreed in principle a trade deal which reflects the importance of market access for services in both economies, the Law Society of England and Wales said today.

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: “The UK-New Zealand free trade agreement (FTA) provides a framework for continued business across borders with our colleagues in New Zealand.

“It commits to liberalising services in a way that strengthens existing bilateral relations and deepens market access, making it easier for professionals like lawyers to operate in each other’s economies. By including sophisticated rules, the FTA will facilitate cross-border trade and prevent restrictions on the number of businesses that can operate in a sector.

“The agreement in principle includes professional services and recognition of professional qualifications. It confirms existing rights of UK and New Zealand lawyers to advise clients in their home-country and international law; and to provide arbitration, mediation and conciliation services in the other country’s territory using their original qualifications and title.

"We welcome the recognition that routes to recognition of qualifications should be efficient and transparent.

“UK workers will benefit from improved business travel arrangements and professionals such as lawyers and architects will be able to work in New Zealand more easily, allowing UK companies to set up shop and bring the best British talent with them.”

Both sides have committed to a mobility dialogue outside the trade agreement, which will consider how people-to-people links can be deepened further.

We welcome the ambitious commitments proposed covering independent professionals, intra-corporate transferees and business visitors.

The agreement also proposes a domestic regulation chapter – a first in New Zealand and UK FTA practices – reflecting both countries’ support for ambitious rules building on those currently under development in World Trade Organisation negotiations.*

I. Stephanie Boyce added: “A challenge for trade negotiations is that many barriers to trade in legal services are ‘behind the border’ and are not covered by FTAs. Therefore, it’s vital there is further cooperation to advance seamless cross-border provision of legal services, as indicated in the proposed regulatory dialogue between relevant authorities in the legal sectors of both countries.

“We hope that the deal’s commitments on market access for services professionals will provide a firm foundation for addressing these issues and look forward to seeing them reflected in the final deal.

“We also look forward to deepening our discussions on providing a clear, transparent requalification system with our key counterparts, including the New Zealand Law Society, and welcome the clear framework for regulatory dialogue proposed under the FTA with New Zealand to further this cooperation.”

Notes to editors

Read the UK-New Zealand free trade agreement in principle

* The domestic regulation chapter reflects both countries’ support for the rules and will see both countries commit to operating impartial, transparent and responsive regulatory systems, and will not be used to create unnecessary barriers to trade.

About the Law Society

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Press office contact: Naomi Jeffreys | 0208 049 3928

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