The government has announced a “major milestone” in its bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), as virtual talks for the UK to join the 11-nation trade bloc began today (28 September).
Sky News reports that while the members of the group have met previously to discuss the application, today’s meeting will be the first with Britain also involved.
Fast growth countries
International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “This is a big milestone on our path to joining CPTPP, which will allow us to forge stronger links both with old friends and some of the world’s fastest-growing economies”.
She said the deal would benefit ‘Global Britain’, bringing jobs and prosperity to every region in the country.
“Joining this high-standards partnership will provide real opportunities for UK exporters and service providers and help our innovators open up new, diverse markets,” she added.
Today’s meeting will pave the way for a series of negotiations on the UK’s accession to the CPTPP trade bloc, reports the Evening Standard.
Mordaunt to South America
Trade minister Penny Mordaunt will also shortly make an official visit to CPTPP members Chile and Peru.
She is due to meet Chile’s minister of agriculture Maria Emilia Undurraga and her Peruvian counterpart Roberto Sanchez, as well as businesses from the region, to “explore deeper trade and investment ties with both countries”.
The UK is keen to join the CPTPP as it represents a market of 500 million people and 13% of global GDP.
CPTPP nations account for around 9% of UK exports and UK trade with the group was worth £111 billion in 2019, growing by 8% a year since 2016.
With the possibility of the US looking to join at some point, CPTPP membership could provide a way of having a closer relationship with the US at a time when a UK-US trade deal looks remote.
In a year?
Former international trade secretary Liz Truss said in April that she hoped that the UK could become a member within 12 months, but all 11 members must be in agreement for the UK to be granted admission.
The CPTPP members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
In recent weeks both China and Taiwan have also indicated they would like to join the CPTPP, reports the BBC.