U.K. aims to join Trans-Pacific Partnership

File photo of a river container terminal facility at Liverpool, England. (DavidCPhotography/iStock/Getty Images)

London | Reuters –– The United Kingdom announced on Wednesday it would pursue accession to a revamped version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“Today we’re announcing our intent to pursue accession to CPTPP, one of the world’s largest free trading areas,” Trade Secretary Liz Truss said.

The British government said joining CPTPP would help the U.K. overcome the challenge posed by the coronavirus and would help diversity its trade links.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a free trade agreement that links Canada and 10 other countries: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Once fully implemented, the 11 countries will form a trading bloc representing 495 million consumers and 13.5 per cent of global GDP, according to the Canadian government. If the United Kingdom were to join, that share of global GDP would rise to about 16 per cent.

The United Kingdom left the European Union on Jan. 31 but the main terms of its membership remain in place during a transition period until the end of this year. Both the U.K. and EU hope to negotiate a new free trade deal between them by the end of the year.

Thailand’s government also announced last week it has set up a committee to consider by mid-July whether it should seek CPTPP membership. The lower house panel is by then expected to present a study on the proposal to the government.

— Reporting for Reuters by Guy Faulconbridge and Panarat Thepgumpanat.

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