Liz Truss, the International Trade Secretary, will press her Australasian counterparts to “turn momentum into results” this week as the UK closes in on post-Brexit agreements with Australia and New Zealand.
Ms Truss said British firms stood to gain better access to New Zealand, and consumers face cheaper wine, as she prepared to hold talks with Damien O'Connor, the country's trade minister, in London.
Sources close to Ms Truss said she would urge Mr O'Connor to "give us more" on areas such as better access for British service suppliers in New Zealand, and enabling more workers from each country to operate in the other nation.
One source claimed that recent progress on a deal with Australia had "put a bit of pressure on New Zealand to play catch-up".
Whitehall officials believe that the post-Brexit trade deal with Australia could be signed as soon as this week, during a trip by Scott Morrison, the country's prime minister, to the UK for this weekend's G7 summit.
Ms Truss will hold her first face-to-face discussions with Mr O'Connor as part of the fifth round of trade talks between the two countries, in the Locarno Suite in the Foreign Office on Wednesday and Thursday. The pair are due to have dinner on Wednesday evening.
A source close to Ms Truss said: “It’s the first time the two ministers have met in person and that is significant because it always takes face-to-face political meetings to unblock the trickiest issues.
"The progress we’ve made with Australia has put a bit of pressure on New Zealand to play catch-up. They’ll need to give us more on services, mobility and investment if they want a deal and Liz will be pressing them hard on that.
"People can expect this agreement to go further than any we had as part of the EU.”
On Saturday night, Ms Truss said: “I look forward to giving minister O’Connor a warm welcome this week. We’ve made great progress so far, but I want to intensify negotiations and move closer to a deal that works for both nations. Both sides are keen to turn momentum into results.
“I want an advanced agreement that shows what Britain can do as a sovereign trading nation – delivering better access for our service companies, slashing tariffs for our exporters, and benefiting consumers here at home with lower tariffs on goods like New Zealand wine."
Ms Truss hopes that the Australia and New Zealand deals will pave the way for the UK to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the £9 trillion free trade area in which both countries are key players.
"Asia-Pacific is where the richest opportunities lie for Global Britain," she said.
Last year, Winston Peters, the then deputy prime minister of New Zealand, said that Wellington was "very frustrated" with the pace of post-Brexit trade talks, adding that the UK's EU membership had not left it "match fit" to negotiate its own agreements.