UK 'pleased with progress on CPTPP' says Lord Grimstone
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Natalie Black said the UK’s bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is set to be completed by the end of 2022. Accession to the bloc will be a major boost for Boris Johnson’s plans for Global Britain, building post-Brexit trade links around the world.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made joining the CPTPP, which was worth £9trillion in 2019, a key part of his trade strategy for Britain.
The bloc already accounts for £11billion worth of UK trade and has seen significant growth since 2016.
Made up of 11 countries, including Canada, Australia, Singapore and Japan, the group includes some of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
“We want to be known as the European country with the broadest and most complementary trading relationships around the region,” Ms Black told Nikkei Asia.
“Trade is about promoting free and open societies and demonstrating that capitalism works for everyone.
“That’s the challenge for all of us working in trade around the world, to make sure that this delivers real-world impact that benefits people on the ground.”
She said negotiations were “on track” to conclude in 2022.
The UK formally submitted its application to join the CPTPP at the start of February this year.
Then International Trade Secretary Liz Truss officially started negotiations on accession in June.
Completing the process by the end of next year would represent a significant achievement, with trade negotiations often taking years to complete.
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Britain has separately been working on bilateral trade talks with members of the bloc to help ease the accession process and speed up admission.
The UK has already agreed a pact with Japan, and has deals in principle with Australia and New Zealand.
Accession to the CPTPP would remove many tariffs and barriers to trade for UK businesses.
Tariff-free trade would be secured for 99.9 percent of shipments to the region.
Britain’s exports to countries in the bloc are already set to grow by £37billion, a rise of 65 percent, by 2030.
No European country is a part of the group meaning the UK’s accession would be a trailblazing moment.
As well as the 11 countries which currently make up the group, the CPTPP is expected to grow over time with the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan and the Republic of Korea all having expressed interest in joining.
Mr Johnson has hailed the CPTPP as a partnership that would “open up unparalleled opportunities for British businesses and consumers”.
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