The UK continues to focus on Asia-Pacific by concluding a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with New Zealand, which reflects the importance of market access for professional services in both economies , the leaders of the lawyers said today.
“Just over two months after the UK signed an FTA with Australia, we are delighted to see new opportunities to develop cross-border business with our New Zealand colleagues,” said I. Stephanie Boyce, President of the Law Society of England and Wales.
“The UK-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement commits to liberalizing services in a way that strengthens existing bilateral relationships and deepens market access, allowing professionals such as lawyers to operate more easily in each other’s economies.
“Professional services and mechanisms to facilitate the recognition of professional qualifications are also described in the agreement.
“The Professional Services Annex confirms the existing rights of UK and New Zealand lawyers to advise their clients in their home countries and on international law and to provide arbitration, mediation and conciliation services in the territory from the other country using their original qualifications and title.
“The agreement also establishes a regulatory dialogue on legal services, which will help relevant legal bodies to facilitate a transparent and proportionate requalification path.
“It will also encourage greater collaboration and knowledge sharing on regulatory issues and broader issues affecting trade in legal services.
“UK workers will benefit from better organized business travel and professionals such as lawyers will find it easier to work in New Zealand, allowing UK businesses to set up shop with top UK talent to develop an international legal market. sophisticated in both jurisdictions”.
The deal includes a chapter on domestic regulation – a first in New Zealand and UK FTA practice – reflecting both countries’ support for ambitious rules building on those currently under way. elaboration in the World Trade Organization negotiations.*
I. Stephanie Boyce added: “As with any trade negotiation, many barriers to trade in legal services are ‘behind the border’ and not covered by FTAs.
“New Zealand’s and the UK’s domestic regulation chapter reflects a commitment to seek to remove these barriers, providing businesses with greater certainty and transparency.
“However, continued cooperation will be essential to advance the seamless cross-border provision of legal services. In this respect, the proposed regulatory dialogue between the competent authorities of the legal sectors of the two countries could be of great benefit to the profession.
“We look forward to contributing to discussions on improving the fluidity of trade in legal services with key bodies, including the New Zealand Law Society, and welcome the clear framework offered under the FTA with the New Zealand to foster this opportunity.”
Notes to Editors
* The Domestic Regulation Chapter reflects both countries’ support for the Joint Initiative on Domestic Regulation of Services and will see both countries commit to building impartial, transparent and responsive regulatory systems that will not be used to create unnecessary barriers to trade.
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