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In ‘biggest trade deal’ since Brexit, UK joins trans-Pacific trading bloc

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(From left to right) Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong, Vietnams Minister of Trade and Industry Nguyen Hong Dien and British Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch are seen together, on the day Britain signs the treaty to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, in Auckland, New Zealand July 16, 2023. — Reuters
(From left to right) Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong, Vietnam’s Minister of Trade and Industry Nguyen Hong Dien and British Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch are seen together, on the day Britain signs the treaty to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, in Auckland, New Zealand July 16, 2023. — Reuters 

The British government on Sunday formally signed an agreement to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in New Zealand, becoming the first new member and first European nation to join the bloc since it was created in 2018.

The UK government hailed what it said was its “biggest trade deal” since Brexit. Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch signed the accession protocol for the CPTPP.

The CPTPP comprises the UK’s fellow G7 members Canada and Japan, plus long-standing allies Australia and New Zealand, alongside Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, AFP reported.

It has been seen as a bulwark against Chinese dominance in the region, although Beijing has applied to join.

Badenoch said in an interview with Sky News that the deal showed the UK “looking outwards towards the world”.

“We have a seat at the table in the fastest-growing region, countries are queuing up (to join),” she added.

“I´m really excited that we´ve brought home the biggest trade deal since we left the European Union.”

London has been pushing a “Global Britain” strategy since formally severing nearly 50 years of ties with its nearest neighbours in the European Union three years ago.

Sunday´s signing at a CPTPP meeting in Auckland was the formal confirmation of the agreement for UK membership after nearly two years of talks.

The government said it will cut tariffs for UK exports to CPTPP countries, which with UK membership will have a combined GDP of £12 trillion ($15.7 trillion), and account for 15 percent of global GDP.

It will give British businesses trade access to a market of more than 500 million people and access to the wider region, it added.

The agreement is expected to come into force in the second half of next year, after parliamentary scrutiny and legislation.

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