The UK Looks To Join Trans-Pacific Trade Pact

The UK announced on 17 June its intention to seek accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bloc in order to support UK businesses to trade across the Asia-Pacific region, including with ASEAN members Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between 11 countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

As part of the UK’s trade negotiations plans for after Brexit, the country intends to pursue joining the CPTPP in order to secure additional trade and investment opportunities to help the post-coronavirus UK economy.

“Joining CPTPP would open up new opportunities for our exporters in strategically important sectors, helping to support an industrial revival in the UK,” the UK Department for International Trade said.

Additional benefits from joining CPTPP include diversification of the UK’s trading links and supply chains, and securing its future place in the world.

According to UK government estimates, each region and nation of the UK exported at least £1 billion worth of goods to CPTPP member countries. As of 2018, UK companies held nearly £98 billion worth of investments in CPTPP countries. As a whole, the UK did more than £110 billion worth of trade with countries in this free trade area in 2019.

“Membership will help us turbocharge our trade with these economies and deliver even greater benefits to the UK economy and our people,” the UK government said.

The UK will aim to secure CPTPP trade benefits for the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for the bulk of the UK economy and which typically suffer disproportionately from trade barriers.

“UK accession to CPTPP, with its dedicated SME Chapter, will simplify export processes and procedures for these businesses and make it easier for them to trade with this group of dynamic of markets, representing 13% of global GDP in 2018, increasing to more than 16% if the UK were to join,” the government said.