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Brexit: Fishermen criticise Boris Johnson’s ‘unfair’ deal
For the last 48 years, EU membership constricted Britain’s ability to make its own decisions and set policies. However, on January 1, Britain finally put an end to eurosceptic frustration, regaining its independence. The transition period came to an end, meaning the country said goodbye to the bloc and opened a new chapter of its national history, as a “global free-trading nation”.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Conservative MP John Redwood celebrated this achievement, revealing how Britain will now have the opportunity to join a “colossal”, and much more beneficial, trade partnership.
He said: “I am sure we will reach free trade deals everywhere in the world.
“That will be more helpful to our farming industry than the EU has been, for example.
“Above all in Asia, where there would be a ready market for quite a lot of our food, primarily fish and some of our meat.”
The prominent eurosceptic added: “One of the big tasks this year for the Government is to negotiate successfully with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) , which would be a colossal market.
“It will give us so many opportunities.”
Brexit triumph as Britain will replace single market with ‘colossal’ trade partnership
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
The CPTPP is a high-quality free trade agreement which binds together Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico, Malaysia, Peru, Chile and Brunei.
It covers nearly 14 percent of the global economy and it was the centrepiece of former US President Barack Obama’s strategic pivot towards Asia.
The precursor to the CPTPP was the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was in place until 2018.
Before US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from it, the TPP was set to become the world’s largest free trade deal, covering 40 percent of the global economy.
Mr Trump suggested in early 2018 that he would be willing to reenter TPP discussions under certain conditions, but he quickly backtracked.
With Democrat Joe Biden soon taking office, though, things might change.
In another interview with Express.co.uk, Alan Winters, director of the Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex, claimed the EU is actually concerned about the possibility of the US and Britain joining together.
Conservative MP John Redwood
UK trade deals
He said: “They definitely worry about it.
“The EU has agreements with quite a lot of countries in the CPTPP, but not all of them.
“It would make it much more difficult for the EU to conclude agreements with countries like Australia for instance, if Britain and the US were to join.”
Professor Winters added: “But the thing they are worried about is that there are a few places where CPTPP has rules that members accept.
“Digital trade is one of those areas.
“For the last decade, perhaps more, the EU has become a regulatory magnet.
“It defines regulations but people sign trade deals with them because it means they can trade with everybody.
“This has irritated the Americans.”
CPTPP, Mr Winters noted, has struck out in digital in a different direction.
He concluded: “This is something the Europeans will be concerned about.”
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Australian Senator Eric Abetz
According to Australian Liberal Party Senator Eric Abetz, there is no reason why Britain could not join the CPTPP in the immediate future.
He told Express.co.uk: “I couldn’t see a reason why Britain shouldn’t, couldn’t or wouldn’t be part of it.
“Let’s hope they get excited by that prospect
“It would be a real enhancement for the UK and for all the other members of the partnership.”
When asked whether Britain’s entry might make it easier for a future US administration to come back to the partnership, Mr Abetz said: “That is a possibility.
“They seem to have issues with major trade agreements, they want to maintain their flexibility and independence.
“But the more we can engage the UK in world affairs, as a separate entity, the better it will be for everyone.”
Following an agreement signed between the UK and Mexico last month, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said it was the “seventh trade deal we’ve secured with a member of the CPTPP”.
She added: “So, it’s another really important stepping stone toward the UK joining the CPTPP, and I look forward to making our application to do just that early next year”.