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The politician and current trade adviser to the UK Government has said the UK’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) could act as the “catalyst” to the US joining.
America was one of the founding members of the CPTPP’s predecessor but Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement.
CPTPP is made up of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam and accounts for more than 13 percent of the world’s income.
Covering countries which are home to approximately 500 million people, it is worth £9.7trillion.
If both the UK and the US join the free trade group, it will overtake the economic size of the European Union.
Mr Abbott said: “Now, it could be that Britain’s application to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that Japan and Australia both strongly support, becomes the catalyst for the US to reconsider.
“A TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) that became a global economic partnership would be an important sign of democracies’ willingness to work together at a time of increasing global tension.
“Trade does mean prosperity, freer trade does mean more prosperity, and freer trade between like-minded countries will strengthen them in the face of whatever challenges might come.”
Mr Abbott made his remarks while giving a speech to the Policy Exchange on Strategic Trade.
He said the UK and US joining CPTPP would be a vital tool in combatting the growing dominance of China by forming a network of similar countries standing up for the rule of law and free trade.
Formal negotiations on the UK’s accession to the CPTPP were formally launched last month.
It is hoped negotiations will be complete by the end of next year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said membership of the trade group would “open up unparalleled opportunities for British businesses and consumers in the fast-growing Indo-Pacific”.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to build on this country’s entrepreneurial spirit and free trading history to bring economic benefits across the whole of the UK,” he said.
More to follow…