Last reviewed 15 September 2020

Discussions between senior UK trade officials and the chief negotiators from all 11 members of the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) have been opened to discuss potential UK accession.

This is the first time CPTPP members have had such a discussion with a country seeking membership since the Partnership was created in 2018.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “Membership would bring new opportunities for our go-getting businesses, more choice for our consumers, and provide us with greater economic security. Strategically, it would help us forge closer ties with the wider Pacific region and put us in a stronger position to reshape global trading rules alongside countries who share our values.”

The meeting follows major progress in negotiations between the UK and Japan, she went on, as well as the beginning of negotiations with Australia and New Zealand, and the resumption of negotiations with Canada, as the UK looks to focus on trade with the dynamic Asia-Pacific region.

CPTPP membership also provides an opportunity to expand trade links with key partners in the Americas.

Evolving from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was ended by the withdrawal of the United States, the CPTPP is an agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Membership, the Government believes, would put the UK in a stronger position to reshape global rules and drive reform at the World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as “hitching the UK” to one of the world’s largest free trade areas.

The CPTPP area removes tariffs on 95% of goods traded between its members, which could reduce costs for businesses and create new economic opportunities for UK exporters.

Since 2009 trade between the UK and CPTPP countries has grown on average by 6% every year and was worth over £112 billion in 2019.