On 22 January, the Department for International Trade (DIT) announced that the UK and New Zealand had signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) that maintains all relevant aspects of the current EU-New Zealand mutual recognition agreement on conformity assessment. The MRA helps to facilitate trade flows between the two nations and means UK exporters can ensure goods are compliant with New Zealand’s technical regulations before they depart the UK, saving businesses time, money and resources. New Zealand exporters to the UK benefit in the same way.

The DIT announcement said the agreement covers sectors accounting for around £169m of UK exports to New Zealand, more than 17% of total UK goods exports to the country, and including valuable sectors such as UK medicinal products and machinery exports, worth an estimated £146m per year. It was signed by International Trade Secretary and New Zealand’s High Commissioner.

A similar agreement was signed the previous week with Australia. The agreement has received warm words from business groups including the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI), which supports over 280 members, many of which trade under the agreement.

New Zealand is one of the first countries the UK is looking to secure a free trade agreement with after it leaves the EU, and the UK is currently analysing the results of a public consultation on the future agreement. New Zealand launched their own consultation on the 23rd November 2018.