Insights Government formally requests to commence UK accession negotiations to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)

The Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss MP, has written to the Minister of Trade in New Zealand, the depositary nation of the CPTPP, to formally request the commencement of negotiations on UK accession to the CPTPP. Ms Truss says that accession to the CPTPP is “a priority for the UK government and a key part of our trade negotiations programme as a newly independent trading nation”. Further, Ms Truss states, “UK accession could see CPTPP’s proportion of global GDP rise to 16%”.

The letter states that “UK membership would send a powerful signal about the importance placed on free trade by this dynamic group of countries at this critical time in our history”.

According to the Government, joining the £9 trillion partnership would cut tariffs for UK industries including food and drink, and cars, while also creating new opportunities for modern industries like tech and services, ultimately supporting and creating high-value jobs across the UK.

UK trade with the group was worth £111 billion in 2019, growing by 8% a year since 2016. The Government says that benefits that CPTPP membership would bring for businesses include:

  • modern digital trade rules that allow data to flow freely between members, remove unnecessary barriers for businesses, and protect commercial source code and encryption;
  • eliminating tariffs quicker on UK exports including whisky (down from 165% to 0% in Malaysia) and cars (reducing to 0% in Canada by 2022, two years earlier than through the UK-Canada trade deal);
  • rules of Origin that allow content from any country within CPTPP to count as “originating”, e.g. cars made in the UK could use more Japanese-originating car parts, such as batteries; and
  • easier travel for businesspeople between CPTPP countries, such as the potential for faster and cheaper visas.

To read Ms Truss’s letter, click here. To read the Government’s press release in full, click here.