April 3, 2023: Britain struck a historic trade deal to enter a vast Indo-Pacific trade bloc after almost two years of intense negotiations.
On Friday, the administration said it would join the 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive deal for Trans-Pacific Partnership, unlocking a region with a total GDP of £11 trillion.
The U.K. said this was the government’s biggest post-Brexit trade deal and made it the first European nation to enter the CPTPP since it came into force in 2018.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hailed the agreement and said it puts the U.K. at the centre of a dynamic and increasing group of Pacific economies.
“We are at our heart a welcoming and free-trading nation, and this deal demonstrates the real economic profits of our post-Brexit freedoms,” he said. “British businesses will now enjoy unparalleled market access from Europe to the south Pacific.”
The trade bloc spans Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. The deal is anticipated to be formally signed by year-end after final approval from Parliament and the 11 member places.
The trade pact developed from the now-defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP originated in the U.S. but fell apart after former President Donald Trump scrapped U.S. involvement.
Britain said the deal would cut tariffs on exports of food, drink and cars, granting access to a market of around 500 million people and worth 15% of global GDP once the U.K. joins the trade bloc.
The U.K. predicted joining the CPTPP will improve its economy by £1.8 billion in the long term and lift salaries by £800 million compared to 2019.
The trade secretary, Kemi Badenoch, stated that the deal sends a “powerful signal” that Britain uses its “post-Brexit freedoms to attain recent markets around the world and increase our economy.”
Natalie Black, the U.K.’s trade commissioner for Asia Pacific, known it as a “progressive deal” for Britain.
“This deal is, yes, regarding economic performance today. But it is very much about future economic performance,” she said on Friday.
“This is part of the world that will drive economic growth and the rules of the road of trade going forward. We want to be connected to those discussions.”