New Zealand welcomes Britain's launch of public consultations on FTA

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WELLINGTON, July 19 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker on Thursday welcomed Britain's decision to launch public consultations on a free trade agreement with New Zealand.

Britain has said the consultations, which also cover prospective agreements with Australia and the United States, signal the immediate trade negotiating priorities once it leaves the EU.

"A progressive, high quality and comprehensive free trade agreement would be an important first step. It would help remove barriers to trade and create world-leading approaches on issues like services and digital trade," Parker said.

"This is a strong signal that the UK is prioritizing an early agreement with New Zealand. It reflects our shared commitment to put in place a high quality, comprehensive FTA as soon as possible once the UK has left the European Union," Parker said in a statement.

Britain is New Zealand's fifth largest trading partner with two-way trade worth nearly 6 billion NZ dollars (4 billion U.S. dollars) annually.