UK takes major step towards membership of CPTPP

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The United Kingdom has taken a major step in the process of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). UK international trade secretary Liz Truss, along with CPTPP Commission chair Mexican economy minister Graciela Márquez, opened discussions between senior UK trade officials and chief negotiators from all 11 members of the partnership to discuss potential UK accession.

This is the first time the United Kingdom has met with these chief negotiators and the first time CPTPP members have had such a discussion with a country seeking membership since the partnership was created in 2018.

The United Kingdom held preparatory conversations with all CPTPP members. If the UK decides to apply, it will enter into a formal accession negotiation with all member states, a government press release said.

This meeting follows major progress in negotiations between the United Kingdom and Japan, the beginning of negotiations with Australia and New Zealand, and the resumption of negotiations with Canada, as the United Kingdom looks to focus on trade with the dynamic Asia-Pacific region.

CPTPP membership also provides an opportunity to expand trade links with key partners in the Americas.

“Joining CPTPP would send a powerful signal to the rest of the world that Britain is prepared to work with countries who champion free and fair trade,” Truss said.

The UK aims to join CPTPP because membership will help put the United Kingdom at the centre of a network of free trade deals with dynamic economies, making the country a hub for international businesses trading with the rest of the world; put it in a stronger position to reshape global rules and drive reform at the World Trade Organisation; boost its economic security; and make it more resilient to future crises by diversifying its trade and supply chains, the press release added.

The free trade area removes tariffs on 95 per cent of goods traded between its members, which could reduce costs for businesses and create new economic opportunities for British exporters. Since 2009 trade between the UK and CPTPP countries has grown on average by 6 per cent every year and was worth over £112 billion in 2019.