Member nations of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) yesterday officially agreed to allow the UK to start the process of joining the pact, Japanese Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Yasutoshi Nishimura said.
Nishimura told reporters that he welcomed the start of Britain’s joining process after hosting an online meeting of ministers from the 11 countries that make up the trans-Pacific trade pact.
“I think there’s a big meaning to this from a strategic viewpoint of strengthening economic relations between Japan and the United Kingdom,” Nishimura said.
The UK’s admission into the CPTPP would bring the nominal GDP of the zone covered by the pact almost on a par with that of the EU, he added.
“The commencement of an accession process with the United Kingdom and the potential expansion of the CPTPP will send a strong signal to our trading partners around the world,” the member countries said in a statement.
Britain made a formal request to join the trade deal in February as it sought to open new avenues for post-Brexit trade and influence.
The CPTPP removes 95 percent of tariffs between its members — Japan, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Peru, Brunei, Chile and Malaysia.
Unlike the EU, it does not aim to create a single market or a customs union, and it does not seek wider political integration.
The UK and Japan signed a trade agreement in October last year, marking London’s first major post-Brexit deal on trade.
British Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss said that Britain would in the coming weeks publish details of its plans to join the CPTTP.
“Excellent news that #CPTPP nations have agreed [Britain’s] accession process will commence to join this dynamic free trade area of 11 countries,” Truss wrote on Twitter. “We’ll present our plans to [the British] Parliament in the coming weeks before starting negotiations.”
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