Liz Truss says UK will be ‘adding’ to trade deals in 2021
The Government minister said the UK would formally request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) “shortly”. Joining to the group has been a key aim of Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit trade strategy.
The CPTPP is made up of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
“We will shortly submit our formal request to join this free trade area,” Truss told a City & Financial Global conference.
She described the bloc as “one of the world’s most dynamic trading areas”.
UK exports of 95 percent of goods would be tariff-free if Britain’s application to the trade pact is confirmed.
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Britain has already sought deals with a number of countries inside the bloc to help improve its chances of being accepted.
Outlining the advantages of the CPTPP this morning, Ms Truss said: “The benefits are there to see, whether it is the deeper access to nearly £9 trillion of GDP covered by its members, the modern rules of origin, the 95 percent tariff-free trade on goods traded between members from cars to seafood, or the modern standards in services, data and digital trade.
“These modern standards would play to the UK’s strengths as a global hub for services and technology trade.
“We are already the second-largest exporter of services globally, and third in the world for billion-dollar “tech unicorn” success stories.
“Together, we can help set the standard for trade in the 21st century, promote higher standards in green trade and pile pressure on the World Trade Organisation to reform.”
The Indo-Pacific trade agreement accounts for more than 13 percent of global GDP.
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The CPTPP’s share of the global economy would rise to as much as 16 percent if the UK was to join.
Addressing MPs in the House of Commons last week, Ms Truss boasted the “unprecedented” success of her department in securing trade deals over the past two years.
She said: “In under two years we have agreed trade deals covering 63 countries, plus the EU that account for £885billion.
“That is unprecedented. No other country has ever negotiated so many trade deals simultaneously.
“In 2021 we will be adding to these deals.”
On top of the UK’s accession to the CPTPP, she said trade deals with the US, Australia, and New Zealand were all in the offing.
However, a deal with America may take slightly longer to negotiate than Britain would hope.
Incoming US President Joe Biden has indicated securing a trade deal with the UK is not one of his top priorities.
Upon being sworn in to Office this afternoon, Mr Biden instead wants to first focus on the US’s recovery from the pandemic, with health and economic policy at the centre of his plan for his first 100 days in the job.
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