British trade secretary Liam Fox will arrive in New Zealand tomorrow – another high-level visit as the United Kingdom prepares to leave the European Union and forge its own trade deals.
Fox will be in the country until next Tuesday, visiting both Auckland and Wellington to meet with senior ministers and representatives of the business community.
Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker said New Zealand and the UK were both advocates for progressive and inclusive trade.
"We are important trading partners and have committed to laying the foundations for a UK-New Zealand free-trade agreement once the UK leaves the EU.
"We welcome Secretary Fox's visit as an opportunity to strengthen our close relationship at a time when the United Kingdom is seeking to reshape its relationships around the world."
When Britain does finally exit the EU - expected to be around March 2019 - New Zealand will require a trade deal with Britain and a separate one for the 27 remaining EU countries.
The New Zealand wine and sheep meat trade into Britain is significant, and New Zealand horticultural products are increasingly making their presence felt in EU markets.
The UK is the second biggest market for New Zealand wine, after the United States, and is worth just under $400 million a year.
New Zealand sends about 200,000 tonnes of sheepmeat to Britain and the EU each year, and Britain remains a significant market for New Zealand lamb.
Fox's trip comes after UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited New Zealand in July, saying in a press conference that New Zealand was "at or near" the front of the queue for an FTA.