The UK and fellow Commonwealth nation New Zealand will work towards a "bold" post-Brexit free trade agreement, Theresa May announced on Friday (13 January).

The commitment is the latest hint that the UK government is planning a so called "hard Brexit", which would limit the UK's access to the EU's single-market.

"While the UK remains in the EU, we will work together to support an EU-New Zealand trade deal and we will also look to the future and how we can expand our trade and investment partnership," May said.

"Through our new bilateral trade dialogue, we will push for greater global trade liberalisation and reform, share expertise and identify ways to strengthen our own trading relationship

The Conservative premier also revealed that International Trade Secretary Liam Fox will visit New Zealand in the "coming months" to launch the talks.

"In the longer term, we agree on the potential for a bold new UK-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, and I look forward to starting early discussions on this in due course," May added.

The development comes as New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English visited Downing Street, after his trip to Brussels to meet with European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and European Council chief Donald Tusk.

English said he hoped the governments would negotiate a "high quality" trade deal.

The UK cannot negotiate bilateral trade deals as a current member of the EU, but Britain's split from the political and economic bloc may allow Fox to pursue free-trade agreements with non-EU countries.

The summit between English and May comes ahead of the UK prime minister's much-awaited Brexit speech on 17 January. May has promised that her ministers will have a "comprehensive, wide-ranging plan" to split from the EU.

The government plans to invoke Article 50, the mechanism to break from Brussels, by the end of March. But the Supreme Court is still yet to issue a final judgement on whether MPs should have a vote on the issue or not. The ruling is expected in January.