The United Kingdom announced on Friday that it has reached an agreement to join the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Partnership, CPTPP, after 21 months of negotiations. This is London's biggest trade deal since withdrawing from the EU.
The UK will be the first country in Europe to join the CPTPP - officially known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership - which will then have 12 countries with a GDP of £11 trillion (€12.5 trillion), Downing Street said in a statement.
The bloc has a population of 500 million and 15% of the world’s GDP along with the UK.
Highlighting the fact that Britain would not have been able to join the partnership if it had still been a member of the European Union, Downing Street praised the way the country was “seizing the opportunities” of its “new post-Brexit trade freedoms,” while the benefits of leaving the bloc have not yet materialised.
More than 99% of British goods exports to CPTPP countries are duty-free, Downing Street noted, citing flagships such as cheeses, cars, chocolate, machinery, and gin and whisky. The services sector will also benefit from reduced red tape.
Eventually, the benefit to the UK economy will reach £1.8 billion (€2.45 billion), according to estimates cited by London.
“This deal demonstrates the real economic benefits of our post-Brexit freedoms,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.
The UK and CPTPP member countries must now finalise the last legal and administrative steps before the agreement is formally signed this year.
The CPTPP links Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.