Britain is poised to sign a bumper post-Brexit trade pact with Pacific nations within days. The deal will be worth tens of billions of pounds for UK businesses.
Officials are putting the finishing touches to reach a “broad agreement” on joining the 11-nation Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said ministers were due to discuss CPTPP with their counterparts this week and there would be an update at the “earliest possible opportunity”.
The UK first applied to join the £9trillion bloc in early 2021 and accession is a major part of its wider post-Brexit foreign policy shift toward the Indo-Pacific.
Members include Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Chile, Vietnam and Malaysia.
A report by the Centre for Policy Studies last year said joining the CPTPP could boost Britain’s GDP by up to £20billion per year.
Earlier this month the Prime Minister said “good and constructive” progress had been made in talks with the bloc.
CPTPP accession would be seen as a major win for Mr Sunak, who produced a landmark deal earlier this month after long-running talks with the EU over post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland.
Speaking during a visit to San Diego, California, earlier this month, the PM said “good progress” had been made.
He said: “Look with all these trade negotiations I’ve said before It’s important that we get them right.
“Rather than – we shouldn’t sacrifice quality for speed. I’ve always said that about all trade negotiations.
“But we’ve been having good and constructive conversations and it’s right that we continue to do so and I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to proceed that’s been something that we’ve been keen to do – we have to make sure that’s on terms that are acceptable to us and .. those conversations have made good progress.”
Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch last month visited Mexico to hold talks with counterparts about the UK’s accession to the CPTPP.
At the time, the Department for Business and Trade said Britain was “nearing the final stages” of talks to join the trading bloc.
Ms Badenoch said: “We will add £2trillion to the bloc’s GDP when we join, taking it up to 15 percent of the world’s GDP, and will add a strong voice promoting free trade and defending against protectionism on the global stage.”
The CPTPP was launched in 2018 and the UK is the first non-founding country to apply to join.
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