New Zealand and United Kingdom reach Agreement in Principle on comprehensive free trade agreement

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New Zealand and United Kingdom reach Agreement in Principle on comprehensive free trade agreement

The NZ Government has recently reached an Agreement in Principle with the UK on a high quality, comprehensive and inclusive free trade agreement.

The Agreement in Principle (AiP) outlined by both governments discusses the parameters of the deal, and sets out the terms on which the expected agreement is to take place. The AiP does not create any legally binding obligations at this time, but work and negotiations are now ongoing to finalise the legal text of the agreement.

Among its various commitments, the AiP includes a section related to intellectual property. In that section there are commitments for:  

  • New Zealand to extend the term of protection for copyright by 20 years;
  • the Parties to adopt or maintain an artist’s resale right schemes and to operate them on a reciprocal basis;
  • the Parties to adopt or maintain a public performance right for performers to cover communication to the public of sound recordings;
  • New Zealand to make all reasonable efforts to join the Hague Agreement on international registration of industrial designs.

Notably, the AiP also includes provisions on the recognition of Māori intellectual property by the United Kingdom. This includes aspects of traditional knowledge and traditional culture expression as applied to intellectual property systems and examination, as well as recognition and protection of the Haka Ka Mate.

Some commitments are expected to require amendments to the Copyright Act after the agreement is signed. As a result, work on the review of the Copyright Act 1994 will not be resuming until negotiations have concluded.

Once negotiations with the UK have concluded, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will be able to develop a plan for making changes to New Zealand copyright law that are necessary for implementation. This will help the Ministry to establish what other domestic reforms are needed, if any.

The current aim is to conclude the NZ-UK free trade agreement by the end of 2021. For more information on this AiP, please visit the New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade website:

Published on November 1, 2021