UK joins powerful Pacific trading alliance | National and international economy

Signing of the agreement for the United Kingdom to join the Pacific Trade Alliance.Staff (Reuters)

The UK today signed the treaty to join a strong trading alliance with 11 countries in the Pacific region, which includes Japan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and Peru. This is the first accession to the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement since its establishment in 2018, and paves the way for members to consider other applications, including those from China and Taiwan.

The signing was part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) meeting held this weekend in New Zealand. Today, member state ministers will meet to discuss a range of issues, including how to proceed with new requests and the review of the agreement itself.

British Business and Trade Minister Kimmy Badenoch said her country was delighted to become the first new member of the CPTPP. “This is a modern and ambitious agreement, and our joining this exciting bloc demonstrates that the UK’s doors are open for business,” Badenoch said. The British government has not yet ratified the agreement.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a landmark trade agreement agreed in 2018 between 11 countries including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Britain will become the twelfth member of the agreement, which reduces trade barriers in the Pacific. This is an important step for British international policy after its exit from the European Union in 2020.

China, Taiwan, Ukraine, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Ecuador have also applied to join the TPP.

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“We continue to discuss how to advance accessions collectively in a way that reflects all our interests and maintains the high standards originally set,” the CPTPP statement said.

China’s application to join the agreement is now next on the list if it is processed in the order in which it was received, but the country faces a number of hurdles to inclusion. The CPTPP requires countries to eliminate or significantly reduce tariffs, make strong commitments to open services and investment markets, and maintain advanced rules on competition, intellectual property rights, and protection of foreign companies.

Damien O’Connor, New Zealand’s trade minister who chaired the TPP meeting, told a news conference he did not know when a decision would be made on future accession. “It’s a complicated area,” O’Connor said of membership applications, adding that no specific country’s application was discussed Sunday. China opposed Taiwan’s request.

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