UK Joins Trans-Pacific Trade Pact

    UK Joins Trans-Pacific Trade Pact
    Last updated Mar 31, 2023
    Image credit: POLITICO


    • On Friday, the UK announced it has agreed to join an 11-country trans-Pacific trade deal, named the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) — a step PM Rishi Sunak's office called the biggest trade deal since Brexit.[1]
    • The CPTPP was established in 2018 to ease restrictions on trade between members as well as tariffs on goods. The trade area covers a market of approximately 500M people and, according to government estimates, will add 0.08% to the size of the UK's economy.[2]
    • The agreement — a culmination of 21 months of talks — will also reportedly ease tariffs on food, cars, and liquor, and will give the UK a say on the accession of other applicants.[3]
    • Current existing members include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and Canada.[4]
    • Other nations that have currently applied to join are Ecuador, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Taiwan, and China.[5]
    • Exports to member countries of the CPTPP from the UK were worth approximately $75B over the year ending in September 2022. The UK has attempted to build ties with geographically distant but fast-growing states since it officially left the EU in 2020.[1]


    Right narrative

    Joining the CPTPP couldn't have been done while a part of the EU, and it's the first substantive evidence of progress since Brexit. The knock-on effect of the deal will aid the UK's longer-term economic plans and is strategically important to reduce China's influence in the region. Britain's businesses will now be able to seize the benefits of trade from the other side of the world while continuing to push against authoritarian regimes as well as focusing on a trade deal with the US.

    Left narrative

    While hardcore Brexiters would like to pretend that the deal is a significant payoff for the decision to leave the EU, the agreement holds no real economic benefit. A trade deal so contentious that it united Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders in US opposition to its entrance, it only offers a 0.08% GDP increase, which is meaningless to the UK's future. No matter how this is portrayed, it isn't the reality of taking back control that Brexit promised.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that the UK will apply to rejoin the EU by September 2048, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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