The United Kingdom continues to make good progress toward joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) this year. Below is an update to Parliament on developments in negotiations over the course of recent months.
This bloc of 11 countries represents around £9 trillion in GDP and includes some of the world’s largest current and future economies. Joining CPTPP puts Britain at the heart of a dynamic group of countries, as the world economy increasingly centres on the Pacific region. And as these economies grow, it is even more important that the UK is in a free trade agreement with them, so that we benefit from this growth.
CPTPP membership offers a wide range of benefits for the UK. Accession could see 99.9% of UK exports being eligible for tariff-free trade with CPTPP members. Joining could also, for example, greatly benefit our world-class services sector through advanced provisions that facilitate digital trade, and modern rules on data to enable more financial and professional services markets to be opened up.
This will support the economy across the UK: the Department for International Trade’s published scoping assessment shows that joining the agreement could benefit all parts of the country, with the greatest relative gains expected in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
The UK announced its intention to join CPTPP in February last year and began formal negotiations on our accession in June 2021. In February this year, CPTPP Parties confirmed that we were ready to move to the final phase of the accession process, having largely demonstrated our compliance with the existing CPTPP rules.
This final phase of the accession process involves applicants making high-standard market access offers to CPTPP Parties. The UK submitted initial offers in March 2022, including on goods, services, investment, government procurement and financial services. Since then, we have continued to engage in talks on both a bilateral and collective basis with CPTPP members in order to come to an agreement on these market access issues.
We will continue to negotiate with CPTPP members over the coming months. We will ensure the UK joins the agreement on the right terms, and that British businesses can begin taking advantage of this trade deal as soon as possible.
The Department will continue to engage with Parliament over the course of negotiations. Once the agreement is signed, it will be subject to pre-ratification scrutiny under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (CRaG), and any legislation required to implement the agreement will need to be passed. Prior to commencing scrutiny under CRaG the Government will commission and publish the advice of the independent Trade & Agriculture Commission, as well as laying its own report under section 42 of the Agriculture Act 2020.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords