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On 31 March 2023, the United Kingdom (“UK”) announced that it will be joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP”) following the conclusion of successful negotiations with the CPTPP’s 11 member countries.
The CPTPP will be the UK’s largest regional trade and investment agreement since its departure from the European Union. The UK will be the first country to join the CPTPP through the accession process and the first European member of the agreement. Currently, the other members of the CPTPP are Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
Ecuador, China, Costa Rica, Taiwan, and Uruguay have also applied for membership.
According to a joint ministerial statement, the CPTPP’s Accession Working Group (“AWG”) will work with the UK on the next steps, including the preparation and verification of the “legal instrument of accession”. Under Article 30.4 of the CPTPP, this instrument is a key requirement for accession to the agreement, providing the UK’s formal acceptance of the terms and conditions agreed with the other member countries. The UK will become a member of the CPTPP on the 60th day after it files the “instrument of accession” or on the date when all member countries have confirmed completion of their domestic legal procedures to implement the new rights and obligations related to the UK’s accession.