UK Candidate for a Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement

The UK applied in February 2021 to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Today the discussions that determine his admission begin.

the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), which became CPTPP after the withdrawal of the United States, is a trans-Pacific trade partnership agreement, aimed at facilitating investment, trade (particularly with regard to customs procedures) and ensuring legislation and environmental work in its member countries. . A definite added value for post-Brexit Britain wishing to increase its economic and diplomatic partnerships.

The World’s Largest Free Trade Agreement Abandoned By Trump

The TPP was the centerpiece of Barack Obama’s strategy for Asia. Signed in early 2016, this free trade agreement included 12 countries, including Canada, Australia, Singapore, and Japan. Although the negotiations were delicate due to the divergent aspirations of its founding countries, the agreement finally saw the light, even becoming one of the most important commercial alliances in the world.

However, Donald Trump, determined to shake up all the initiatives taken by his predecessor, had withdrawn the United States from this trans-Pacific agreement as soon as he came to power. Thus, the TPP had grown from 12 to 11 members, with a considerable loss. The TPP-11 still retained the will to close a pact without the United States: thus the CPTPP was born.

The CPTPP, Comprehensive and progressive trans-Pacific partnership agreement, was ratified in March 2018 by 11 countries. Includes Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Malaysia, Singapore, Bahrain, Japan, and Vietnam. The main axis of this free trade agreement is expansion through better access to the respective markets of the member countries, a drastic reduction of import duties and taxes, among other preferential measures. Countries must also cooperate on regulatory matters, while remaining free to enter into their own agreements with other countries.

Great Britain Candidate for CPTPP

The UK is the first non-founding country to apply. In June, the CPTPP indicated that the process could begin, four months after the archipelago’s request. The member countries have already met to discuss the issue of Britain’s admission, but today, a first virtual meeting will allow the British candidate to participate in the negotiations. The new Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, explains that it is “ an important step on our journey to join the CPTPP, allowing us to forge closer ties with old friends and some of the world’s fastest growing economies. […] Joining this high-profile partnership will provide real opportunities for UK exporters and service providers and help our innovators open up new and diverse markets. […] Seizing opportunities like this is exactly the goal of Global Britain and it will help create high-quality jobs and prosperity in all regions of our country. »

However, the short-term benefits of Britain’s entry into the CPTPP appear limited. The country has already established numerous partnerships with the countries participating in this agreement, and the participation of British trade with the CPTPP would be less. In 2019, CPTPP accounted for 8% of UK exports, which is less than just Germany. However, this free trade agreement has great potential in the future, especially if other countries continue to join the club. The UK government has called the CPTPP ” Modern and progressive network of free trade agreements with dynamic nations. ».

Who are the other prospects?

The other nation with great interest in this Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement is China. The country has shown interest in the CPTPP on several occasions, but formally requested it on September 16, 2021. The request follows the submarine diplomatic crisis (AUKUS), as China has been offended by the decision of ‘Australia, United States United and Great Britain. Although China is optimistic about joining the deal, there are barriers regarding the divergence between certain values ​​promoted by the CPTPP and Chinese practices. However, its admission would represent a significant advantage for all interested countries.

The question of America’s return has also been on the table since Joe Biden’s election, but the latter has not addressed the issue until now. At the moment, this large-scale deal is being done without the American giant, raising the question of the United States’ positioning in the Pacific area.

Vince Fernandez

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