Together with our Pacific partners, we can move beyond Covid towards a new era rich in jobs, opportunity and prosperity
This is shaping up to be Global Britain’s biggest month yet. Fresh from bringing world leaders together in person as G7 President, the United Kingdom secured a historic deal with Australia – our first ever negotiated from scratch since leaving the European Union.
We are showing what we can do as a sovereign trading nation by forging closer ties with dynamic and like-minded nations stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
This week we are taking the next step to joining one of the largest trading areas on earth: the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
We know the richest opportunities lie in the Asia-Pacific region, and that millions of jobs will be supported by exports to nations around the world.
With the lion’s share of global growth over the coming years expected outside Europe, it is vital we position ourselves at the heart of the action. That is why we are fueling our recovery and future prosperity by fulfilling our full potential to help the best of British business export more to the world’s major and growing markets.
After securing our deal with Australia, we are not going to let the grass grow under our feet. We have now negotiated deals with 68 countries plus the EU, securing £744bn of trade. We are closing in, following the fifth round of talks with New Zealand, on another gold standard agreement.
Today, we are firing the starting gun on negotiating the terms of our membership of the CPTPP, a group of economies worth nearly £9 trillion GDP in 2019, with official talks to begin later this year.
Our trade is going from strength to strength with CPTPP’s members: Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Brunei and Malaysia.
And I am delighted that we are the first country to begin negotiating our accession to this excellent partnership since it was first established in 2018.
Our negotiating team will be working hard to ensure that any deal works for businesses and consumers across the UK and meets our high standards.
As it stands, our exports to these nations are already set to soar by 65pc over this decade, in a rise worth £37bn. That boost would be even greater as part of the CPTPP due to the benefits unlocked for our businesses.
Joining the CPTPP could bring tariff-free trade on 99.9pc of the goods we export to fellow members, driving sales of everything from Scotch whisky and Midlands-made cars to Welsh lamb and Northern Irish fintech.
Membership would help us export more than ever to the 500 million people covered by the CPTPP across four continents. This high-standards pact, with modern rules on data and advanced provisions that facilitate digital trade, would take us to the next level as the world’s hub for services and technology.
We are already the world’s second largest services exporter, whether it is finance and law or construction and education. The CPTPP would help professionals go further and faster in some of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies, with improved business travel and a level playing field across eleven valuable markets.
This partnership is a natural fit, as it is underpinned by strong rule of law and high standards across the board, from the environment and labour rights to services and digital trade.
Unlike EU membership, we can make the most of all these benefits without having to surrender control over our laws, borders and money. We get all the benefits of joining a huge free trade area without strings attached.
This approach shows we are not just thinking about the here and now, but our long-term success.
Other economies have made clear their interest in joining, such as the Philippines, Thailand and Taiwan, but our work and fierce commitment to high standards has put us at the front of the queue. This means we can get a seat at the table as the first new member, helping to shape its future development.
We would be joining a coalition which is ready and willing to lead the charge for 21st century trade. By helping set modern standards, we would maximise job creation and opportunity across the UK and elsewhere.
Our Pacific partners are united in the firm belief that the best way forward for us all lies in free and fair trade. By joining the CPTPP, we would strengthen it as a bulwark against protectionism and unfair trading practices from nations like China.
By championing free and fair trade, we will ensure its full benefits are felt in every region and nation of the UK.
We are now at an inflection point, ready to negotiate the terms of our membership to one of the world’s largest and most dynamic trading areas.
Together with our Pacific partners, we can move beyond Covid-19 towards a new era rich in jobs, opportunity and prosperity.
A bright future awaits us as part of the CPTPP, which is why global Britain is seizing this defining opportunity.