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UK Government Sets Out Its Strategic Approach To CPTPP Accession And Call For Evidence Reopened
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The parties to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for
Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) have agreed to formally commence
an accession process with the UK. Ahead of the start of formal
negotiations, the UK Government has set out its strategic approach to accession.
The CPTPP is a trade agreement between 11 nations, which
together accounted for 15% of global trade in 2019: Australia,
Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru,
Singapore and Vietnam. It entered into force in 2018 and the UK is
the first non-founding country to apply for accession. The trade
agreement is wide ranging, containing 30 chapters dealing with
topics such as trade in goods and services, digital trade,
competition, subsidy control, intellectual property, labour and
environmental standards and dispute resolution.
The government highlights the immediate economic benefits of
accession, such as the removal of barriers on trade in goods and
services. In particular, the UK could benefit from lower tariffs on
niche luxury products such as whisky and cars, which are in high
demand in the Pacific region. The trade deal has the potential to
increase the competitiveness of UK businesses that export to this
region and provide greater access to a growing middle class market.
It also notes there is potential for further CPTPP expansion, with
economies including the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan and the
Republic of Korea expressing an interest in joining, which would
provide further trade opportunities to the UK.
The government’s approach to the negotiations has not been
set out in detail, except to give some specific reassurances that
accession would not impact the NHS, its services or the price it
pays for medicines, and that the UK will continue to comply with
the European Patent Convention.
The House of Lords International Agreements Committee is
carrying out an enquiry into the proposed accession and has
reopened its call for evidence. It has published a list of
10 specific questions, covering topics such as agricultural market
access negotiations and striking a balance between opportunities in
digital trade and data protection concerns. We expect there to be
further discussion on these issues over the coming weeks. For
example, it will be interesting to see whether the government will
seek to retain any specific tariff protections or an exemption to
the provisions on international data transfers so as not to risk
its recently confirmed adequacy status under the EU regime.
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