Express overstates impact of UK joining trans-Pacific trade bloc – Full Fact

Credit: Original article can be found here

“The UK is making good progress in negotiating its own accession to CPTPP which could mean more than 99 per cent of UK exports to member countries become eligible for tariff-free trade.”

An article published in the Daily Express on 6 February (also online) repeats a misleading claim about the impact of Britain’s possible accession to a major trade bloc—despite the fact that the newspaper has previously amended a different article making a similar claim after being contacted by Full Fact.

The article published this week says that if the UK’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is successful, it could mean “more than 99 per cent of UK exports to member countries become eligible for tariff-free trade”.

The CPTPP is a free-trade agreement currently made up of 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and the Americas—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The UK is currently involved in negotiations over its potential accession to the agreement after it formally applied to join in February 2021. It already has free-trade agreements with some of these countries individually, including Japan and Canada

The “more than 99%” figure referred to by the Express is based on analysis by the Department for International Trade (now the Department for Business and Trade) published in the government’s strategic case for joining the agreement. It states: “Accession could see 99.9% of UK exports being eligible for tariff-free trade with CPTPP members.”

However, as we’ve previously explained, the same document also says that 85.4% of UK goods exports are already eligible for tariff-free access to CPTPP member countries. So joining the CPTPP would result in around 15% of UK goods exports becoming newly eligible for tariff-free trade, rather than more than 99%.

We’ve contacted the Daily Express for comment and will update this article if it responds.

Image courtesy of Hector Galarza

We deserve better than bad information.

After we published this fact check, we contacted The Daily Express to request a correction regarding this claim.

The Express did not respond.

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