Brexit trade deals to spark export boom – industry leaders praise Truss’s CPTPP plans

CPTPP would benefit from UK involvement claims trade expert

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Earlier this year International Trade Secretary Liz Truss formally applied for the UK to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The free trade agreement is made up of 11 countries around the Pacific Rim and accounted for more than £111billion of UK trade in 2019.

This afternoon business leaders praised the opportunities the new trade agreement would bring for the export of UK services, and the chance to influence trade rules across the globe.

Giving evidence to MPs, Lucy Monks, from the Royal Institute of British Architects, said: “UK architects are a net export, they’re open of the few net exporters of architecture in the world, and therefore have a real significant interest in seeing how trade agreements unfold themselves.”

Speaking to the International Agreements Committee, Konrad Shek from the Advertising Association added: “In 2020, according to the latest ONS figures – so subject to revision – we exported a little over £360million worth of advertising services to CPTPP countries.”

He said while approximately £2billion of exports went to the EU, membership of the CPTPP would open up new opportunities for businesses.

“CPTPP feels very much like a geopolitical play, I think the main benefits of being part of a club are it could influence trade in the Asian-pacific region in the coming years,” Mr Shek added.

“We’re very supportive, I think it gives the UK a higher profile in the Asia-pacific region.

“I think the CPTPP will also benefit from UK membership.”

Sabina Ciofu, head of EU and trade policy at techUK also said the UK joining the group would be a boost for the CPTPP with benefits of Britain’s accession flowing both ways.

She said: “The UK will be the second-largest economy in that group and I think that will be really important for the group because it will potentially create more expansion opportunities.

“It will be the first country out of the region to join and I think that will create conversations around the bloc further.

“I think the CPTPP group would benefit from having the UK on board.”

Outlining the benefits for British businesses, she added: “It is very much a geopolitical exercise of joining the club of countries that have some of the most digital trade provisions in the world. I think that’s the true value of this agreement.

“We’ve seen tech exports to the CPTPP countries growing year on year throughout the last six or seven years.

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“It’s a very exciting time and we are broadly supportive of the UK joining CPTPP, we have been from the first conversations of this in 2018 and we think this will create really good opportunities for the UK tech sector.”

The bloc is made up of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, and is one of the fastest growing free trade areas across the globe

CPTPP is set to overtake the EU single market in the coming years.

Earlier this year Ms Truss labelled join the trade bloc as a priority for Britain post-Brexit.

Ms Truss said: “The benefits are there to see, whether it is the deeper access to nearly £9trillion of GDP covered by its members, the modern rules of origin, the 95 percent tariff-free trade on goods traded between members from cars to seafood, or the modern standards in services, data and digital trade.

“These modern standards would play to the UK’s strengths as a global hub for services and technology trade.

“We are already the second-largest exporter of services globally, and third in the world for billion-dollar ‘tech unicorn’ success stories.

“Together, we can help set the standard for trade in the 21st century, promote higher standards in green trade and pile pressure on the World Trade Organisation to reform.”

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