Three years after formally leaving the European Union, the UK has signed an agreement to join trade agreements with 11 countries in Asia and the Pacific.
The government said joining the group would boost British exports by lowering tariffs on goods such as cheese, cars, chocolate, machinery, gin and whiskey.
However, according to the government’s own estimates, joining the block would only increase the size of the UK economy by 0.08%.
The trade area covers a market of about 500 million people.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) was established in 2018 and includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
Joining the CPTPP relaxes restrictions on trade between member countries and reduces tariffs (a type of border tax) on goods.
Together, the 11 member states account for about 13% of global income, and after 21 months of negotiations, the UK became the first European country to join.
The government said the deal was the UK’s “largest trade deal since Brexit”.
However, Britain’s gains from accession are expected to be modest. The UK already has free trade agreements with all member states except Brunei and Malaysia, some of which were carried over from her former EU member states. And even with some improvement in trade, the government only estimates that the size of the economy will increase by 0.08% over her 10-year period. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which provides forecasts to the government, previously said Brexit would reduce potential economic growth in the UK by around 4% in the long term.
But Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the deal showed “the real economic benefits of post-Brexit freedom”.
“As part of the CPTPP, the UK is now in a key position to seize new opportunities for jobs, growth and innovation in the global economy.
“UK businesses will enjoy unparalleled access to markets from Europe to the South Pacific.”
Commerce Secretary Kemi Badenok added that joining the CPTPP “will support jobs and create opportunities for businesses of all sizes in all parts of the UK”.
The government said other ‘benefits’ of joining the block would include boosting the services sector by not requiring UK companies to set up local offices or reside in order to provide their services. Stated. .
The government said the government and CPTPP members will take the final legal and administrative steps necessary for the UK to formally sign it in 2023.