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UK begins process to join CPTPP

Valerie Mai Valerie Mai

mnghonganh@gmail.com

June 03, 2021 | 00:24

Britain said it would look to carry out negotiations on joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) as quickly as possible.

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UK begins process to join CPTPP
Britain's Secretary of State of International Trade and Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss at a virtual meeting. (Photo: Xinhua)

Member nations of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) have approved a decision to start the accession process for the UK to join the trade deal during the fourth CPTPP commission meeting held via video conference on June 2 morning, according to Nhan Dan.

The meeting was chaired by Nishimura Yasutoshi, the Japanese Minister in charge of Economic Revitalisation and in charge of the CPTPP. At the event, ministers of CPTPP signatories welcomed the UK’s request to join in the trade agreement.

The commencement of the accession process with the UK and the potential expansion of the CPTPP will send a strong signal to trading partners around the world of the signatories’ commitment to supporting a free, fair, open, effective, inclusive, and rules-based trading system, they said in a joint statement. It will also offer chances to promote high-quality standards and rules of the CPTPP and foster the recovery and development of trade activities in Asia-Pacific and the world at large.

UK begins process to join CPTPP
At the meeting. (Photo: Bloomberg)

CPTPP signatories and the UK will set up working groups in the coming months to discuss tariffs, along with trade and investment rules, Nishimura said.

According to Reuters, UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: "CPTTP membership is a huge opportunity for Britain. It will help shift our economic centre of gravity away from Europe towards faster-growing parts of the world, and deepen our access to massive consumer markets in the Asia-Pacific...We would get all the benefits of joining a high-standards free trade area, but without having to cede control of our borders, money, or laws".

A delegation of Vietnam led by Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien attended the meeting. Vietnam has actively contributed ideas to the meeting, which were highly valued by participating members.

The UK made a formal request on February 1 to join the CPTPP, the first accession application by a member outside the 11 participating Pacific countries since the trade deal came into force in 2018.

UK begins process to join CPTPP
Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien attended the meeting. (Photo: VNA)

A working group on the U.K.’s accession has been set up with Japan as the chair and Singapore and Australia as vice-chairs.

Japan has been supportive of the U.K.’s efforts to seal global trade deals as it seeks to carve out a bigger role in Asia following its exit from the EU. The two countries reached a bilateral trade agreement last year. The U.K. also has separate pacts with other member countries including Canada, Singapore and Vietnam and is pushing for one with Australia. Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru are also part of CPTPP, said Japan Times.

The UK made its formal application to join CPTPP in February. Becoming a member would accelerate the U.K.’s growth in export trade with faster-expanding Asian economies, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mike Dennis. The UK recorded a trade surplus with CPTPP countries in the first quarter of 2021, he added.

China, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan (China), and Thailand have also expressed interest in joining the CPTPP. The trade agreementcovers 13 percent of global gross domestic product and groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

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Valerie Mai