British Prime Minister Theresa May has been having a hard time lately. Having been saddled with Brexit negotiations, a political ploy she did not support from the start, she has faced two no-confidence votes in the past month and just had her Brexit deal shot down by the U.K. parliament.
The U.K.’s trade partners have been watching the Brexit negotiations with relative concern, which has now escalated as the deadline looms within the next few weeks and no deal anywhere in sight.
New Zealand is so concerned about the upcoming split from the European Union that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is set to meet with her British counterpart when she travels to London next week, according to the New Zealand Herald. During their meeting, Ardern will seek reassurances from May with regards to the effects Brexit will have on the U.K.’s trade deal with New Zealand.
“My visit to the U.K. is an opportunity to underline New Zealand’s position as a natural and long-standing partner for the country as it redefines its global role post-Brexit,” Ardern said in a statement.
Her trip will also see her traveling to Davos in Switzerland where she is scheduled to join Prince William in a panel discussion about mental health — one of the heir to the throne’s biggest talking points — at the World Economic Forum.
Ardern is hoping the trip to Europe will also secure New Zealand “free trade agreements with the U.K. and European Union and promote the Government’s Well-being Budget.” She will be accompanied by Finance Minister Grant Robertson, who is dealing closely with exporters in New Zealand who currently trade with Britain.
“All we can do is make sure New Zealand is prepared for whatever outcome comes from the year – that’s what the Government has been doing for some time. The thing we can control is the way in which our relationships work with both the UK and the remainder of the EU.”
May and her parliament have until the end of March to come up with a deal that the EU agrees to, and with no agreements in sight from her previous proposals, it’s looking more and more likely that the U.K. will exit the EU with no deal at all. “No deal” roughly translates to a hard Brexit, which leaves the U.K. being completely cut out of the EU’s single market.