Kemi Badenoch has signed off UK membership to a major Indo-Pacific trade bloc, bringing British businesses a step closer to being able to sell to a market of 500 million people with fewer barriers.
The Business and Trade Secretary signed the accession protocol to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in New Zealand on Sunday.
Britain is the first new member and first European nation to join the bloc – comprising Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – since its formation in 2018.
It represents Britain’s biggest trade deal since leaving the EU, cutting tariffs for UK exporters to a group of nations which – with UK accession – will have a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of £12 trillion, accounting for 15% of global GDP, according to officials.
The signing is the formal confirmation of the agreement for the UK’s membership, which was reached in March after two years of negotiations.
Britain and the other 11 CPTPP members now begin work to ratify the deal, which in the UK will involve parliamentary scrutiny and legislation to bring it into force.
Officials estimate it will come into force in the second half of 2024, at which point the UK becomes a voting member of the bloc and businesses can benefit from it.
Before putting pen to paper in Auckland alongside ministers from CPTPP nations, Ms Badenoch said: “I’m delighted to be here in New Zealand to sign a deal that will be a big boost for British businesses and deliver billions of pounds in additional trade, as well as open up huge opportunities and unparalleled access to a market of over 500 million people.
“We are using our status as an independent trading nation to join an exciting, growing, forward-looking trade bloc, which will help grow the UK economy and build on the hundreds of thousands of jobs CPTPP-owned businesses already support up and down the country.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub