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Trade Deal on the Cards in Asia Pacific for UK

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership or CPTPP is a group of 11 countries that follow free trade regulations in the zone. Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam together make up for 13 % of the world’s total income according to BBC. The United Kingdom too applied for membership into that in January 2021. After Brexit, the UK has been engaging in negotiations to establish trade agreements to increase the market outreach. The discussions for the CPTPP deal begin now virtually and there are many speculations about the trade offs and the time that the deal will offer.

The membership in the group will be a source of benefits for UK. It will ensure reduced tariffs on exports of goods like cars and alcohol. It will also result in reduction of border taxes and special privileges for the members with respect to investment, services, intellectual property, digital trade and state owned enterprises. The Trade Secretary Liz Truss stated that Asia Pacific was an important area for the new opportunities for Britain. The trade deal with Asia Pacific after the one concluded with Australia. That deal received mixed responses especially from the farmer community. The deal will help in increasing employment opportunities and will also be a source of profit for a Britain coming out of the complications of the deal with European Union and Brexit. In 2019, the UK exports of goods and services to the CPTPP countries amounted to GBP 58 Billion. The imports were equivalent to almost GBP 53 Billion. 

There are mixed reviews to the UK’s inclination towards the CPTPP deal. Asia Pacific is one of the fastest economically growing regions and this move could announce the British support for free trade. But on the other hand, there is a section of experts who have criticised the limited results from the deal and call it being pressurised with short term goals in mind. The UK already has trade agreements with seven of the CPTPP members. 

As the negotiations are in place, the relevance of co-dependence is highlighted. UK’s Trade Minister Truss has been in the limelight for being involved in several free trade agreements and negotiations. UK will be the first non founding member to join the agreement that is based on the principles of global free trade and rule based commerce.