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On 9 September 2020, the Department for International Trade (DIT) announced that the UK has taken a major step in the process of joining CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership), one of the world’s largest and most dynamic free trade areas. The press release stated in part:
International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, alongside the current chair of the CPTPP Commission, Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Márquez, opened discussions between senior UK trade officials and Chief Negotiators from all 11 members of the Partnership to discuss potential UK accession.
This is the first time the UK has met with Chief Negotiators from all 11 members of the Partnership to discuss UK accession, and the first time CPTPP members have had such a discussion with a country seeking membership since the Partnership was created in 2018.
The UK held preparatory conversations with all CPTPP members. If the UK decides to apply, it will enter into a formal accession negotiation with all member states.
This meeting follows major progress in negotiations between the UK and Japan, the beginning of negotiations with Australia and New Zealand, and the resumption of negotiations with Canada, as the UK looks to focus on trade with the dynamic Asia-Pacific region. CPTPP membership also provides an opportunity to expand trade links with key partners in the Americas.
The partnership includes ambitious agreements on digital trade, data, financial, professional, and business services, all of which are areas where the UK is a global leader and stands to benefit from more trade.