close
Friday July 19, 2024

'Biggest trade deal': UK joins trans-Pacific trading bloc

"We have a seat at the table in the fastest-growing region, countries are queuing up (to join)," says Kemi Badenoch

By Web Desk
July 16, 2023
A Union flag flies from a flagpole opposite the Elizabeth Tower, commonly reffered to as Big Ben, at the Houses of Parliament in central London. — AFP/File
A Union flag flies from a flagpole opposite the Elizabeth Tower, commonly reffered to as Big Ben, at the Houses of Parliament in central London. — AFP/File

What the Britain called their "biggest trade deal" since Brexit, the UK government on Sunday formally signed a pact to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in New Zealand, becoming the first new member and maiden European nation to join the bloc since it was created in 2018.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch signed the accession protocol for the CPTPP. The block comprises the UK’s fellow G7 members Canada and Japan, plus long-standing allies Australia and New Zealand, alongside Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, AFP reported.

It has been seen as a bulwark against Chinese dominance in the region, although Beijing has applied to join.

Badenoch said in an interview with Sky News that the deal showed the UK "looking outwards towards the world".

"We have a seat at the table in the fastest-growing region, countries are queuing up (to join)," she added.

"I´m really excited that we´ve brought home the biggest trade deal since we left the European Union."

London has been pushing a "Global Britain" strategy since formally severing nearly 50 years of ties with its nearest neighbours in the European Union three years ago.

Sunday´s signing at a CPTPP meeting in Auckland was the formal confirmation of the agreement for UK membership after nearly two years of talks.

The government said it will cut tariffs for UK exports to CPTPP countries, which with UK membership will have a combined GDP of £12 trillion ($15.7 trillion), and account for 15 percent of global GDP.

It will give British businesses trade access to a market of more than 500 million people and access to the wider region, it added.

The agreement is expected to come into force in the second half of next year, after parliamentary scrutiny and legislation.