Foreign Affairs

UK poll result a boost for NZ exporters

New Zealand exporters are hoping for a more orderly Brexit after Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party won the UK election.

The Tories won 364 of a possible 650 seats on Friday, which Johnson says is an irrefutable mandate to get Britain out of the European Union.

Export New Zealand's executive director, Catherine Beard, said people who export dairy, wine and chilled meat products to the UK, have faced a lot of uncertainty.

Beard said it will still take a long time for the UK to negotiate new trade agreements, but the election result points towards better outcomes for New Zealand exporters than a hard Brexit.

"All our exporters for whom the UK is a big market have certainly been watching the Brexit drama for the past three years.

"They have been preparing and they've been talking to their customers. The New Zealand government has invested more in terms of boots on the ground with customs officials and people like that stationed in the UK….so there has been a lot of work, but there's also been uncertainty."

She said with the Tories having the benefit of a decent majority in parliament, they should be able to have the deal Johnson negotiated with the EU pass in Parliament so that was a "positive".

"It seems like at least the UK can speak with one voice now, so that bodes much better in terms of getting an agreement.

"New Zealand knows how hard it is to do free trade agreements. They are negotiations. I don't think the EU will want the UK to have as good a deal as they have currently because then there'd be no downside to leaving the EU.

"So I don't think they're [the UK] necessarily going to end up in a better position... And these things do take time."

She said the New Zealand dairy, wine and chilled-meat industries are among those with strong ties to the UK.

"The thing that the meat industry's still concerned about is currently they have a quota that covers the whole of Europe and the UK. There's talk of splitting those quotas once they separate themselves… and that's a concern for our meat industry because they really want flexibility to move the product around depending on where demand is."

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