International Trade Secretary Liz Truss believes the trade pact will yield ‘enormous opportunities’ for British businesses (Picture: Getty/Reuters)
Britain is hoping to sign up to a £9 trillion free-trade pact with nations across the globe including Australia, Malaysia and Canada.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss is due to speak to foreign ministers tomorrow to ask to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The government announced its ambition to become the first new country to join the partnership today, exactly one year since Britain formally left the EU.
Signing up will cut trading tariffs with the 11 CPTPP members, which also includes Mexico, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, Brunei, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand.
It will not require Britain to give up control of our ‘laws, borders or money’, Ms Truss said in a statement.
Businesses including car manufacturers and whisky producers are set to benefit from lower tariffs, ministers say, with formal negotiations expected to begin later this year.
UK trade with the group was worth £111 billion in 2019, according to the Government.
Liz Truss and her Singaporean counterpart Chan Chun Sing signed a free-trade deal in Singapore in December (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)
Ms Truss is due to speak to ministers in Japan and New Zealand tomorrow morning (Picture: Reuters)
‘Joining the £9 trillion partnership will cut tariffs for UK industries including food and drink, and cars, while also creating new opportunities for modern industries like tech and services, ultimately supporting and creating high-value jobs across the UK,’ Ms Truss said.
‘Unlike EU membership, joining does not require the UK to cede control over our laws, borders, or money.’
Boris Johnson said the new partnerships will bring ‘enormous economic benefits for the people of Britain’.
‘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,’ the Prime Minister added.
Businesses reacted positively to the plans, with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) saying it would help firms ‘thrive and succeed more than ever’.
Boris Johnson says the new partnership will bring ‘enormous economic benefits’ – but Labour has urged the government to consult the public (Picture: PA)
But Shadow International Trade Secretary, Emily Thornberry, said Labour will closely scrutinise any pact and urged the Government to consult the public.
‘Like any other trade agreement, the advantages of joining the CPTPP will have to be assessed once we see the terms on offer.
‘People will rightly ask why we have been through five years of debate in Britain over leaving a trade bloc with our closest neighbours only to rush into joining another one on the other side of the world without any meaningful public consultation at all.’
Ms Truss insisted joining the pact would ‘create enormous opportunities for UK businesses that simply weren’t there as part of the EU’.
‘We’re at the front of the queue and look forward to starting formal negotiations in the coming months,’ she added.
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