The United Kingdom reached an agreement with Indo-Pacific partners to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) at a virtual ministerial meeting late March 31, 2023.
The CPTPP is a free trade agreement between 11 countries. “After 21 months of negotiations, this is the UK’s biggest trade deal since Brexit and [it] becomes the first European country to join CPTPP,” the government said.
The 11-country trans-Pacific trade pact includes Japan and Australia. The deal is important, as Britain looks to deepen ties in the Indo-Pacific region and build its global trade links after leaving the European Union. “Joining the CPTPP trade bloc puts the UK at the centre of a dynamic and growing group of Pacific economies,” UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement, adding the deal demonstrated the real economic benefits of the country’s post-Brexit freedoms.
The United Kingdom has been looking to build global trade ties after its departure from the European Union in 2020, and has looked to turn towards geographically distant, but fast-growing economies. Other members of CPTPP are Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The UK is the first new member to join the group. Membership of CPTPP will supplement existing bilateral Free Trade Agreements the UK has with most of the member countries. The country said the deal, which will cut tariffs on cars, spirits and dairy products, would boost the economy by 1.8 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) each year in the long-run — a figure that could rise as more countries join the pact.