UK makes next step towards accession to Trans-Pacific Partnership


The government is formally applying to join one of the world’s largest free-trade areas, to position the UK at the heart of emerging economies in the Pacific and support jobs across the UK.

UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss will speak with Ministers in Japan and New Zealand on Monday morning (1 February 2021) to request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the first formal step before negotiations start later this year.

UK membership would enhance trade with CPTPP nations, including Australia and New Zealand, by opening up new markets and opportunities for UK businesses while encouraging greater inward investment and strengthening the UK’s ties with the Indo-Pacific region and the Americas.

Membership would also help the UK go further and faster in areas like digital trade and services. Last year trade from the UK to CPTPP member nations in these fields hit £18.7 billion and joining now would create an opportunity to unleash other sectors of the UK’s economy.

The UK’s accession would increase CPTPP’s combined GDP from £9 trillion to £11 trillion. Last year, trade between the UK and the 11 member countries was worth more than £111 billion and has grown on average at 8% each year since 2016.

The UK’s membership to CPTPP is a key part of the UK’s Government’s plan to position the UK at the centre of a network of modern free trade deals that drive jobs and economic growth.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said

One year after our departure from the EU we are forging new partnerships that will bring enormous economic benefits for the people of Britain.

Applying to be the first new country to join the CPTPP demonstrates our ambition to do business on the best terms with our friends and partners all over the world and be an enthusiastic champion of global free trade.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said

Joining CPTPP will create enormous opportunities for UK businesses that simply weren’t there as part of the EU and deepen our ties with some of the fastest-growing markets in the world.

It will mean lower tariffs for car manufacturers and whisky producers, and better access for our brilliant services providers, delivering quality jobs and greater prosperity for people here at home.

We’re at the front of the queue and look forward to starting formal negotiations in the coming months.

The British High Commissioner to Australia, Vicki Treadell, said

As we continue our negotiations for a comprehensive FTA with Australia, accession to the CPTPP, one of the most advance plurilateral trade agreements in the world, will further help diversify market opportunities, create wider benefits for all, and strengthen our ties with this like-minded trading community.

My team and I, therefore, look forward to supporting this process as well in developing ever deeper trade partnerships with Australia and all members of the CPTPP.

British High Commissioner to New Zealand Laura Clarke said

We’re grateful to New Zealand, as a leading CPTPP member, for its continued support for the UK joining this group of like-minded, free trading nations.

Our accession to one of the world’s largest free trade areas would not only unlock growth for UK businesses, but boost trade and investment opportunities for countries across the region.

As we continue UK-NZ Free Trade Agreement talks at pace, this milestone is the next step in forging our exciting new trading relationships with New Zealand and the rest of the world.

The UK will publish its negotiation objectives, scoping analysis, and consultation response in advance of negotiations expected to start this Spring.

CPTPP membership is a key part of the Government’s plan to position the UK at the centre of a network of modern free trade deals that support jobs and drive economic growth at home.


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