Tue, Oct 09, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Abe says UK welcome at Trans-Pacific trade pact

Reuters, LONDON

Japan would welcome Britain “with open arms” into a Trans-Pacific trade pact, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the Financial Times on Sunday.

Abe, one of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s closest international allies, also said he hoped both sides in Britain’s deadlocked Brexit negotiations with the EU would be able to reach a compromise to avoid a disorderly Brexit.

British Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox in July said he would consult the public about a possible bid to join the Pacific trade group that includes Canada, Australia and Mexico, once Britain leaves the EU.

May’s government has touted the freedom to strike new trade deals outside the EU as one of the main economic benefits of Brexit, but its ability to do so could yet depend on the outcome of negotiations in Brussels.

Both sides are hoping to agree a deal by next month, but the stalled negotiations have left some investors worried that Britain could end up leaving the bloc without a deal.

“I hope that both sides can contribute their wisdom and at least avoid a so-called disorderly Brexit,” Abe told the newspaper.

In related news, Bank of England (BOE) chief economist Andy Haldane is to get the tricky job of working out how to address Britain’s productivity puzzle.

British Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark was yesterday to name Haldane as chair of the new industrial strategy council, a body charged with overseeing delivery of the UK’s flagship economic policy, the Financial Times reported.

Britain’s stagnant productivity has choked economic growth for years. Poor productivity means the economy can no longer expand as quickly as it did in the past without fueling inflation.

BOE Governor Mark Carney was quoted in the newspaper as saying that understanding productivity is a key ingredient in how the Monetary Policy Committee sets targets for GDP growth and inflation.

“Andy’s new role will help both to deepen that understanding and, consistent with our remit, to support the government’s objectives for growth and employment,” he said.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

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