Tuesday 2 February 2021

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Britain Applies to a New Trading Group

The United Kingdom is applying to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trans-Pacific trading bloc of 11 countries, the government announced on Saturday.

The UK is really to apply to join trans-Pacific free trade bloc. After its exit from the EU, the United Kingdom is seeking to be part of the Pacific free trade area. A formal request will be made early next week.

The United Kingdom is applying to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trans-Pacific trading bloc of 11 countries.

"One year after our departure from the EU we are forging new partnerships that will bring enormous economic benefits for the people of Britain," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.

"Applying to be the first new country to join the CPTPP demonstrates our ambition to do business on the best terms with our friends and partners all over the world and be an enthusiastic champion of global free trade," he added.

By joining the Pacific free trade area, the UK could certainly benefit from lower tariffs without deep political integration, as was the case with the European Union.

What is the CPTPP?

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), also known as TPP11 or TPP-11, is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. It evolved from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which never entered into force due to the withdrawal of the United States. At the time of its signing, the 11 countries' combined economies represented 13.4 percent of the global gross domestic product (approximately US$13.5 trillion), making the CPTPP the 3rd largest free-trade area in the world by GDP after the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the European Single Market, and really possibly after the 2020 signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement was signed on 4 February 2016, but never entered into force, as Donald Trump withdrew the USA from the agreement soon after being elected. All original TPP signatories except the USA agreed in May 2017 to revive it and reached agreement in January 2018 to conclude the TPP and initiate the CPTPP. The formal signing ceremony was held on 8 March 2018 in Santiago, Chile.

The CPTPP incorporates most of the TPP provisions by reference, but suspended 22 provisions the USA favored that other countries opposed, and lowered the threshold for enactment so the participation of the USA is not required. The agreement specifies that its provisions enter into effect 60 days after ratification by at least 50% of the signatories (six of the eleven participating countries). The sixth nation to ratify the deal was Australia on 31 October, and the agreement came into force for the initial six ratifying countries on 30 December 2018.

Two-thirds of the provisions in the signed CPTPP are identical to the TPP draft at the time the USA left the negotiating process.


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  3. Global partnerships are interesting. Some are wondering: is NAFTA still in effect? It seems that in September 2018, the United States, Mexico, and Canada reached an agreement to replace NAFTA with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and all 3 countries had ratified it by March 2020. NAFTA remained in force until USMCA was implemented. The USMCA took effect on July 1, 2020, replacing NAFTA.