The United Kingdom will join the region-wide CPTPP free trade agreement, after negotiations with the trade bloc’s 11 countries concluded in Vietnam.
Britain announced the successful end of negotiations on Friday afternoon, two years after it first applied to join. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) spans 11 Pacific countries, including New Zealand.
“Our accession to CPTPP sends a powerful signal that the UK is open for business and using our post-Brexit freedoms to reach out to new markets, including in the Asia Pacific region, and grow our economy,” said Britain’s Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch.
The UK follows Chile and Malaysia in joining the trade agreement. China and Taiwan have also both applied to join the CPTPP.
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New Zealand signed a free trade agreement with the UK in February 2022.
British High Commissioner to New Zealand, Iona Thomas, said the UK joining CPTPP would reaffirm the partnership between the two countries, “complementing and reinforcing” the bilateral trade agreement.
A fifth round of negotiations between the UK and CPTPP countries, involving more than 150 delegates, concluded in Vietnam, according to a statement from the British.
For the UK, joining the CPTPP will represent another success in its post-Brexit strategy, as it aims to shore up its position in the world after leaving the European Union in 2020.
The UK also considered itself an “attractive market” for CPTPP countries.
The CPTPP countries together account for $17.3 trillion in global trade. According to Trade Minister Damian O’Connor, the CPTPP deal saved New Zealand businesses $300 million in tariffs in its first two years.
New Zealand is chairing the CPTPP for 2023, and O’Connor will host trade ministers from the CPTPP countries in Auckland in July.