UK attends first CPTPP meeting since signing up to the massive Indo-Pacific trade bloc in July
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Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch in California for her first in-person meeting with CPTPP countries since she was in New Zealand to sign the deal in July
Published 15 November 2023
- Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch in California for her first in-person meeting with CPTPP countries since she was in New Zealand to sign the deal in July
- British business welcome membership for supporting jobs, boosting sales and bringing economic growth
- News comes as the Bill implementing CPTPP starts passage through Parliament and British businesses gear up to take advantage of opportunities the UK’s membership presents
Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch is in San Francisco today [Wednesday 15 November] to meet Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Ministers in-person for the first time since she was in New Zealand to sign the deal on the UK’s membership in July.
CPTPP is a vast global free trade area consisting of 11 countries, home to 500 million people, across Asia Pacific and the Americas, and now the UK. Once the UK joins the group, CPTPP will be worth £12 trillion – 15% of global GDP – and over 99% of UK goods exports to CPTPP countries will face zero tariffs.
The meeting coincides with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference taking place in San Francisco at which world leaders from across the region including President Biden will be present.
The news comes after the government introduced the Bill needed to bring the CPTPP deal into force to parliament as part of the King’s Speech last week.
Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said:
“I’m delighted to be here in San Francisco, meeting my CPTPP counterparts and advancing Britain’s rightful place on the world stage.
As CPTPP’s first ever new member, and the only European member, we are linking the UK to some of the world’s most dynamic economies, giving British businesses first-mover advantage in some of the fastest-growing markets in the world, and supporting jobs and economic growth right across the country.”
While in San Francisco, the Secretary of State will also meet with Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, to progress talks on a UK-California Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will aim to boost trade and investment and reach our net zero targets. California would be the 5th biggest economy in the world if it were a country, presenting huge opportunities for UK businesses. The meeting comes just a day after she signed a UK-Florida MoU to boost trade and investment.
UK companies are already thriving in CPTPP markets and planning to expand further once the trade deal is in force.
UK geocoding app what3word’s groundbreaking location technology divides the world into a grid of 3×3 metre squares, each with a unique combination of three words: a what3words address. The tech is being used all around the world, from search and rescue operations to deliveries in Vietnam, and car navigation in Japan.
The business believes the UK’s membership of CPTPP will help increase uptake across the automotive, logistics, e-commerce, and emergency services sectors in member countries.
What3words Business Director for APAC Joe Poynter said:
“International expansion and strong cross-border relationships are at the heart of our journey at what3words. It’s how we’ll get everyone, everywhere using and interacting with our technology. We’re thrilled to be part of this dynamic alliance to enhance our operations across the CPTPP member nations and beyond.”
British premium chocolate producer and cacao grower Chocolat Madagascar also predicts CPTPP will enable it to grow in new markets, Australia and Singapore, and existing markets, Japan, Canada and New Zealand.
CPTPP countries account for 15% of its current sales but it forecast this will grow to 30% in the next three years thanks to the UK’s CPTPP membership reducing import duties to zero, giving the business a new competitive edge.
Director at Chocolat Madagascar Neil Kelsall said:
“The CPTPP agreement has come at a fantastic time for Chocolat Madagascar, as we strategically look to embrace the new opportunities in countries like Australia and Singapore. We are confident that these emerging markets will boost our sales volumes and help the company to grow.”
Becoming part of CPTPP will support economic growth and jobs in every region and nation of the UK. Key benefits include:
- Eligibility for zero tariffs on more than 99% of UK goods exports to CPTPP countries, including additional access on cheese, chocolate, gin, whisky, and cars.
- Potentially cheaper prices for British consumers thanks to reduced tariffs on high-quality imported goods like fruit juices from Chile and chocolate from Mexico.
- Less red tape for UK services exporters, who make up almost 55% of UK exports to CPTPP.
- Flexible ‘rules of origin’ which allow British companies to trade more freely across the bloc.
- Modern rules for digital trade across all sectors which could make exporting cheaper, simpler, and more competitive.
The CPTPP meeting is taking place on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in San Francisco.
To bring this agreement into force, the following must take place:
- Parliament will scrutinise the deal under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act.
- The Trade (CPTPP) Bill has to be agreed by Parliament.
- Necessary secondary legislation has to be passed by Parliament to make the changes required to our procurement regime to meet the terms of the agreement.
In line with our commitment to transparency and scrutiny, the government:
- Published the full text as soon as it was signed, along with a full independently scrutinised impact assessment.
- Ensured the Trade and Agriculture Commission, a panel of independent experts, had over four months to report on the agreement. The Trade & Agriculture Commission’s report on the CPTPP is expected at the end of November.
International treaties are negotiated and then entered into force by the government. Treaties do not always require legislation to come into force, but on some occasions changes to domestic law might be needed to implement a trade deal.
In this instance, the UK is already largely consistent with the CPTPP agreement. CPTPP preserves the right to regulate to protect human, animal and plant life and health. The UK will continue to uphold our high standards in all our trade agreements, including CPTPP. Decisions on these standards remain a matter for the UK and will be made separately from any trade agreements.