UK to apply for membership of Asia-Pacific free trade bloc
The United Kingdom will formally apply to join one of the world's largest free trade areas, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the government announced on Saturday.
British trade minister Liz Truss is set to speak to ministers in Japan and New Zealand on Monday, with formal negotiations set to start later this year, according to a statement.
"One year after our departure from the EU, we are forging new partnerships that will bring enormous economic benefits for the people of Britain," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in the same statement.
Joining the CPTPP would deepen the UK's access to fast-growing markets and major economies, the government said.
"It will mean lower tariffs for car manufacturers and whisky producers, and better access for our brilliant services providers," Truss commented on the prospect of joining the pact.
The UK government also said the move may help to boost its technology and services sectors.
The CPTPP trade deal currently involves 11 countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – and covers a market of 500 million people.