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The Minister has drawn praise over since taking over the post in July 2019 for speedily rolling over trade deals agreed with the EU. Over the past 18 months she has been tasked with ensuring countries around the world continue to trade with the UK on the same terms as they did when Britain was in the EU.
She told the House of Commons: “In under two years we have agreed trade deals covering 63 countries, plus the EU that account for £885billion.
“That is unprecedented. No other country has ever negotiated so many trade deals simultaneously.
“In 2021 we will be adding to these deals.”
Explaining the Government’s plan to turbocharge UK trade on the world stage, the South West Norfolk MP said talks were already underway with a number of countries.
She said: “Negotiations are already underway with the United Staes, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as our planned accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), hitching Britain to the fastest-growing markets around the world.”
CPTPP is a free-trade agreement between 11 countries centred around the Pacific Rim.
Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan are all embers of the trade pact.
The Minister said joining the CPTPP was “a priority” and a “key part of our trade negotiation programme”.
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She added the UK intended to formally announce its intention to join the trade group “soon”.
Under the deal, the export of 95 percent of goods would be tariff-free.
CTPP countries are already a key export market for the UK, with Britain sending more good to the trade pact than to China.
The Indo-Pacific trade agreement accounts for more than 13 percent of global GDP.
The CPTPP’s share of the global economy would rise to as much as 16 percent if the UK was to join.
Explaining the reasons for the UK’s eagerness to join the group, a Government policy paper released last summer said: “CPTPP membership is an important part of our strategy to place the UK at the centre of a modern, progressive network of free trade agreements with dynamic economies.
“In doing so we aim to turn the UK into a global hub for businesses and investors wanting to trade with the rest of the world.
“Joining CPTPP will help us forge a leadership position among a network of countries committed to free trade and send a powerful signal to the rest of the world that the UK is prepared to champion free trade liberalisation, fight protectionism and remove barriers at every opportunity.”