Exactly one year after Brexit, the UK will apply to join CPTPP, an Asia-Pacific free trade pact.
On Monday the 1st of February, the UK will submit its application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact covering a total market of around 500 million people.
This will be a big step for economic relations, as the UK will be the second-largest economy in the pact after Japan. Joining this group of “fast-growing nations” will boost UK exports, the Government claims.
Joining this bloc will mean that a number of UK exports, such as whiskey and cars, will face largely reduced tariffs, as will the service industries upon which the country heavily relies.
As a result of leaving the EU, the UK needs to create alternative consumer markets. In 2019, the CPTPP accounted for only 8.4% of UK exports, similar to that of Germany alone pre-Brexit.
The only hindrance of this pact is that the trading countries are much harder to reach than the previous neighbouring markets of Europe. However, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss reportedly believes it will be successful as this is pact is “where the growing middle-class markets are”.
With ongoing free trade deals with several CPTPP members, the impacts of the agreement will be gradual. Nonetheless, major opportunities will arise as the US also contemplates applying. Former President Donald Trump had withdrawn the initial application when he took office. This would allow for much better bilateral trade between the UK and US without the need for a separate trade deal.
Should the application be successful, it will open up numerous opportunities for Britain to maintain a dominant position in the global market.