The trade secretary Liz Truss will formally apply for Britain to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership in a meeting with ministers from Japan and New Zealand tomorrow.
The nine trillion pound partnership includes key players like Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, and Singapore and will boost UK trade in growth markets like Mexico and Malaysia.
It covers around 500 million people and 13% of the world’s economy, while containing some of the worlds biggest growth regions.
“Joining CPTPP will create enormous opportunities for UK businesses that simply weren’t there as part of the EU and deepen our ties with some of the fastest-growing markets in the world” said Truss.
“It will mean lower tariffs for car manufacturers and whisky producers, and better access for our brilliant services providers, delivering quality jobs and greater prosperity for people here at home.”
Making a sly reference to Barack Obama’s infamous “back of the queue” speech from the European referendum campaign in 2016, Truss added: “We’re at the front of the queue and look forward to starting formal negotiations in the coming months.”
The plan to join has been in the works for some time and last week this site reported that the move was imminent.
It has been hailed by business groups too. CBI head Lord Bilimoria said it “marks a new chapter for our independent trade policy” and “has the potential to deliver new opportunities for UK business across different sectors.”
The Federation of Small Businesses chairman Mike Cherry chimed in too: “Membership of the CPTPP would be a hugely welcome development to all small businesses looking to either expand or begin their trading journeys.
“Crucially, at the very heart of this agreement is an SME chapter, something that we have lobbied for the inclusion of in every FTA, ensuring that no business is left behind.
“This is truly a world-leading agreement and one that will genuinely help small firms to thrive and succeed more than ever.”