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  • Ministerial Conversation on The UK and CPTPP

Ministerial Conversation on The UK and CPTPP


UKABC Digital Conversation with DIT Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena MP on ‘UK and CPTPP: Partnership for Economic Growth’

UKABC is delighted to be hosting a discussion with DIT Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena MP and Natalie Black CBE, HM Trade Commissioner – Asia Pacific led by our Chair, Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG on the UK’s intention in acceding to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This discussion is hosted in partnership with the Department for International Trade.

Areas of discussion

  • What is the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Transpacific Partnership (CPTPP)?
  • What is the UK’s position on CPTPP accession currently?
  • How can the UK benefit from acceding to the CPTPP?
  • What will CPTPP’s impact be on different sectors?
  • Do CPTPP provisions align with UK domestic priorities?
  • Would CPTPP accession link to the UK’s bilateral trade negotiations?


The CPTPP is a trade agreement between 11 countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam), representing 13% of global GDP in 2018; increasing to more than 16% if the UK were to join. CPTPP is a free trade area that reduces tariffs on goods and removes other barriers to trade between countries across four continents.

CPTPP reduces tariffs on 95% of goods between its members and sets modern rules in areas of increasing importance for UK industry and business, including on digital trade, data, financial, professional and business services.

The UK intends to pursue accession to CPTPP for three reasons.

The first is securing increased trade and investment opportunities that will help the UK economy overcome the unprecedented challenge posed by coronavirus. Joining CPTPP would open up new opportunities for our exporters in strategically important sectors, helping to support an industrial revival in the UK.

Second, to help us diversify our trading links and supply chains, and in doing increase our economic security at a time of heightened uncertainty and disruption in the world.

The third is to help us secure our future place in the world and advance our longer-term interests. CPTPP membership is an important part of our strategy to place the UK at the centre of a modern, progressive network of free trade agreements with dynamic economies. In doing so we aim to turn the UK into a global hub for businesses and investors wanting to trade with the rest of the world.

UK companies held close to £98 billion worth of investments in CPTPP countries in 2018. In 2019, we did more than £110 billion worth of trade with countries in this free trade area.

On 17 June, the UK announced its position reaffirming the Government’s intention to join CPTPP by setting out (in a paper viewed here) the potential strategic and economic benefits to the UK from accession.

The CPTPP Interim Update document also details the engagement the Government has taken with CPTPP member countries, business, civil society, and the public so far and what our next steps are for CPTPP accession.

Since July 2018, the UK has engaged with all 11 member countries at both ministerial and official level to test UK accession to CPTPP. All CPTPP members have welcomed the UK’s interest in accession. This approach aligns with the accession process for new CPTPP members which encourages countries to engage informally with every CPTPP member, addressing any concerns and questions before submitting a formal accession application.

The UK sees significant advantages in joining CPTPP and believes that our accession can strengthen the Agreement. However, we will only formally apply for accession if we are satisfied that we are able to in a way that supports our national policy interests, including those highlighted by respondents to our public consultation on potential CPTPP accession.

Before applying, the Department for International Trade will publish an Outline Approach and a Scoping Assessment setting out their negotiating objectives and the economic impact and benefits of accession.

This is a by-invitation only event.


Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE, CMG

Lucy has had three careers, in politics in business and in the Civil Service. Currently, she is a Conservative peer, sitting on the Lords EU Committee (and its Financial Services sub-committee); is Chair of Red Tractor (the food assurance organization); is Chair of the UK-ASEAN Business Council; and is a Non-Executive Director of Capita plc, Secure Trust Bank Plc, Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company and Health Data Research UK.

Lucy became a peer in 2013 and was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business and Minister for Intellectual Property from 2014-2016. Lucy’s main career was at Tesco from 1997-2013, as Director for Corporate and Legal Affairs, and she served on the Main Board from 2006-2013.


Ranil Jayawardena MP

Ranil Jayawardena was appointed Minister for International Trade in May 2020. Before serving as a minister, he was a member of the International Trade, Home Affairs, Procedure and Arms Export Controls Committees.

Ranil combined his service in local government with working for Lloyds Banking Group plc and is a freeman of the City of London. He also has wide ranging commercial experience from the pharmaceutical, construction, transport and leisure sectors.


Natalie Black CBE

Natalie Black became Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific, covering North-East Asia, Southeast Asia and Australasia in September 2018.

Previous roles include Deputy Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit, Director of the Internet Harms Unit and Director of the Office of Cyber Security in the Cabinet Office.

Before joining the Civil Service, Natalie was the Chief of Staff for Security at the London Organising Committee of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.



An update on the UK’s position on accession to the CPTPP. DIT. 17 June 2020

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