UK CPTPP membership to strengthen trade relationship

Aziz Idris

The Government of the United Kingdom (UK) is formally applying to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), one of the world’s largest free-trade areas, in hopes of positioning itself at the heart of emerging economies in the Pacific and support jobs across the UK.

Before negotiations start later this year, the first formal step will see UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss speaking with ministers in Japan and New Zealand today, to request to join the CPTPP.

UK membership would enhance trade with CPTPP nations, including Brunei Darussalam, 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 such as digital trade and services. Last year, trade from the UK to CPTPP member nations in these fields hit GBP18.7 billion, and joining now would create an opportunity to unleash other sectors of the UK’s economy.

The UK’s accession would increase the CPTPP’s combined GDP from GBP9 trillion to GBP11 trillion. Last year, trade between the UK and the 11 member countries was worth more than GBP111 billion and has grown, on average, eight per cent each year since 2016.

British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam John Virgoe. PHOTO: AZIZ IDRIS

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

Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Brunei Darussalam Mark Garnier, in a press statement, said, “Accession to CPTPP presents an opportunity for the UK economy to be integrated with this like-minded trading bloc, advocating free trade and a rules-based global trade system.

“I am delighted and honoured to be the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Brunei Darussalam, and I am committed to growing our two-way trade and supporting Brunei’s economic diversification.’’

British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam John Virgoe said, “I am delighted that the UK officially notified CPTPP members of its intention to begin the accession process to the most advanced plurilateral trade agreement in the world.

“The UK’s relationship with Brunei Darussalam is as deep as it is broad. Membership of CPTPP would support an even closer bilateral trade relationship, enabling our businesses to enjoy the mutual benefits of free trade.”