Britain is poised to join the great Asia-Pacific trading bloc

15/03/2023    78

The UK is poised to join this major Asia-Pacific trading bloc in time for New Zealand’s host of key trade ministers in Auckland over the Matariki weekend in July.

Trade Secretary Damien O’Connor, who now chairs the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Commission, is optimistic that the 11 existing members will soon reach a joint deal with the UK on its accession deal

“They can then sit down as members and meet with us here in New Zealand,” O’Connor said. “It’s really going to be something to celebrate.”

Expectations that the UK’s bid to join the trading bloc would soon be given the green light followed a recent breakthrough by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on the details of the UK’s post-Brexit pact with the EU.

Concerns were reported that Britain’s threat to unilaterally rewrite its Brexit deal with the EU over trade arrangements with Northern Ireland raised concerns about Britain’s role in the rules-based Asia-Pacific trade bloc.

There were other bilateral hooks between the UK and some existing members. However, recent talks in Vietnam have been positive and are expected to be resolved in the final stages of negotiations.

O’Connor points to the value of having another G7 nation outside of Japan within the bloc. “As a nation that relies on trade, certainty, consistency and predictability in trade (with the UK) is of incredible value in our part of the world.”

The geostrategic imperative was recently stressed by British negotiator Graham Zebedee, who observed that the global economy faces multiple headwinds in rebuilding after the pandemic and fighting Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and tackling climate change. “Global cooperation is essential to address these challenges, and international trade plays a crucial role in ensuring stability, prosperity and growth,” says Zebedee.

“The UK will be a powerful voice on the global stage, standing up for our shared values, high standards and closer partnerships.

“We will use our membership in global institutions such as the Group of Seven and Group of 20, our status as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and our diplomatic network, the fourth largest in the world, to advocate for the broader shared values ​​of the CPTPP , like tackling climate change, growing the green economy and developing digital standards.”

O’Connor expects the UK to sign the CPTPP agreement shortly and seek to ratify it within six months of accession.

New Zealand holds the Chair of the CPTPP for 2023 and the Auckland Ministerial will be the centerpiece of our hosting year,” added O’Connor. “Trade is the government’s top priority because it underpins our economic security.

“Since 2017 we have signed four new FTAs, updated three and given our exporters significantly more options.”

He says the opportunity to showcase New Zealand as a destination and to lead the development of CPTPP as an open plurilateral process is “of great value to us”.

Source: UK Daily News