UK starts talks on joining trans-Pacific trade bloc

The UK government is entering into negotiations to join a trans-Pacific free trade bloc that includes Canada, Japan, Mexico and Australia.

According to the government, joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) could mean tariff-free trade for 99.9% of UK exports, including food and drink, and cars, while also creating new opportunities for the tech and services industries.

The 11 members of the trade agreement — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam — have met previously to discuss the UK’s application.

The first UK-attended meeting of the CPTPP’s UK Accession Working Group began virtually in the early hours of Tuesday (28 September). These talks will kick off a series of negotiations on the UK’s accession to the trade bloc.

Welcoming the start of talks, International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Joining this high-standards partnership will provide real opportunities for UK exporters and service providers and help our innovators open up new, diverse markets.”

Trade minister Penny Mordaunt is also visiting CPTPP members Chile and Peru, and said she would “explore deeper trade and investment ties” with both countries.