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NZ 'at or near' front of queue for trade deal -UK's Boris Johnson

WELLINGTON, July 25 (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said late on Wednesday that New Zealand would be near the front of the line for a free trade deal with Britain once the UK leaves the European Union, according to local media.

"I can certainly tell you that New Zealand is at or near the very front of the queue," he told media during a visit to the country.

"The whole point is that the UK is not turning in as a result of Brexit, we are turning out. We want to engage with the world again in a way that we haven't been able to do for 43 years and we want to engage above all with our old friends and partners like New Zealand," Johnson said.

Britain cannot sign trade deals with third countries while it remains a member of the EU.

"We are leaving the EU, but we are not leaving Europe of course, and we are going to do we hope a great free trade deal with New Zealand." (Reporting by Ana Nicolaci da Costa; Editing by Peter Cooney)