UK, ASEAN and CPTPP
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On Wednesday 18th July, International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox , announced four public consultations which include the UK’s intention to potentially seek accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in addition to seeking Free Trade Agreements with the US, Australia and New Zealand.
The CPTPP is currently made up of 11 members including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam accounting for 13.5 percent of world GDP – worth a total of US$10 trillion. It is anticipated that Thailand will join next year which will mean that half of the 10 ASEAN countries are part of the CPTPP.
If the UK were to join CPTPP, it would be the second largest economy in the group, and CPTPP’s coverage of global GDP would increase to around 17%.
The agreement reduces 95% of tariffs, along with other barriers to trade, among its 11 members. The 11 existing members accounted for £82 billion of UK trade in 2016, more than the Netherlands, France or China. The economies of existing members are diverse, spanning a region which is a driving force of global economic growth. Many, including Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore have been growing substantially over the last 5 years, growth which the IMF projects will continue in the near future.
On the 29th of May, the UK-ASEAN Business Council hosted a roundtable discussion on the CPTPP. It was chaired by Matt Cavanagh, Director of Group Government Relations at Prudential with guest speaker Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director of New Zealand’s International Business Forum. The discussion with UK business focused on how the UK can benefit from being part of the CPTPP and the opportunities it presents. UK companies can already benefit from the CPTPP if they have operations in a member country and their global value chains are exporting to other CPTPP members. It will also benefit small businesses. New Zealand is a nation of small business and the government’s intention in being part of this agreement is to help small business.
The UK Government is consulting with members of the public, businesses, trade experts, and any other interested organisations to help inform this work. More information can be found on the government’s websites below including an information pack prepared by the Department for International Trade.
- What on earth is the CPTPP? by the Economist
- From TPP to CPTPP by CSIS
- TPP’s Regulatory Capitalism and China’s Belt and Road Challenges by The Diplomat
- What Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)? by Council on Foreign Relations
- Singapore ratifies Asia-Pacific trade deal for market of 500 million people by The Straits Times