United Kingdom makes request to join trans-Pacific trade deal

Clay Curtis
February 2, 2021

"One year after our exit from the European Union, we are establishing new partnerships that will bring huge economic benefits to the British", the prime minister said in the memo.

Negotiations between the United Kingdom and the partnership - which represents 11 Pacific Rim nations including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico and Vietnam - are expected to start this year, the trade department said.

The UK will apply to join the CPTPP trade bloc on Monday, the UK government said on Saturday.

To date, one of the most significant trade arrangements rolled-over by the United Kingdom include one with Switzerland, with the total value of trade reaching £34.7 billion in 2018, and Norway, where the total value of trade was worth £28.9 billion in the same year.

'More generally, people will rightly ask why we have been through five years of debate in Britain over leaving a trade bloc with our closest neighbours only to rush into joining another one on the other side of the world without any meaningful public consultation at all'. China, the world's second-largest economy, also does not belong.

The UK's departure from the European Union a year ago has seen the country move to launch a range of new trade negotiations, including the US, Australia and New Zealand.

The UK is hoping to join a free-trade pact with Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore and others, as part of the country's post-Brexit plans. The Government says the partnership removes tariffs on 95 per cent of goods traded between members. However, these standards and regulations do not have to be identical, and member countries can strike their own trade deals.

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The Obama administration earlier had touted the agreement as a way to boost export markets, expand US intellectual property rights and create a ring of allied trading partners surrounding China.

Fifteen Asia-Pacific economies are set to conclude talks on Sunday (15 November) and sign what could become the world's largest free trade agreement, covering almost a third of the global population and about 30% of its global gross domestic product.

This massive free trade area offers our brilliant British businesses new economic benefits, but does not require us to give up control of our laws, borders and money.

"As we seek to recover from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 it's all the more important for like-minded allies to work together to make the case for free trade and put it into action", Truss told Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan's minister in charge of TPP negotiations, and New Zealand Trade Minister Damien O'Connor.

"There are two much bigger trade deals that he [Joe Biden] could potentially do, rather than a deal with a medium-sized country of 65 million people", the former UK ambassador to the United States said at BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour on January 17, 2021.

But Mr Henig said that in terms of trade policy, there was merit in Britain joining a group of "like-minded" countries.

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