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Not entirely satisfied with Brexit, the United Kingdom is joining the Trans-Pacific trading bloc. In fact, the nation has reached an agreement to join the trade bloc composed of 11 countries for now: the goal is to deepen ties in the region and boost its economy. The Cptpp, the Comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership includes Japan, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. According to the British government, it is the largest trade deal since Brexit and was concluded after two years of negotiations by the Department for Business and Trade.
According to the British government, the bloc, which includes more than 500 million people, could boost the U.K. economy by 1.8 billion pounds a year in the long run: more than 99 percent of U.K. goods exports to Cptpp countries are now eligible for zero tariffs, including products such as cheese, chocolate, machinery, gin and whiskey. And according to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the agreement will protect vital UK industries and entities, including agriculture and the Nhs, the National health service: dairy producers, for example, will be eligible for lower tariffs on exports of products such as cheese and butter to Canada, Chile, Japan and Mexico.
The UK is the first new member since the creation of the Cptpp, but more importantly, it will be the first European member: with its contribution, the combined GDP of the trade bloc will rise to 11 trillion pounds (about 15 percent of the global total). However, experts say, the economic benefits of joining the bloc are generally estimated to be modest: the country already has free trade agreements with nine of the bloc’s 11 members. The government itself has estimated that the agreement will add only 0.08 percent to Her Majesty’s GDP in the long run. In this context, strategic and diplomatic motivations are of considerable importance. British Prime Minister Sunak said some time ago that China represents a “momentous challenge” to the world order: and the agreement, Sunak reminds us, is aimed precisely at increasing the UK’s influence in a region increasingly dominated by East Asian economic powerhouse.
“At our core, we are an open nation, free to trade, and this agreement demonstrates the real economic benefits of our post-Brexit freedoms –Sunak emphasizes-. As part of the Cptpp, the UK is now in a prime position in the global economy to seize opportunities for new jobs, growth and innovation. Joining the Cptpp trading bloc -he adds- places the UK at the center of a dynamic and growing group of Pacific economies, as the first new nation and the first European country to join. British companies will now enjoy unprecedented access to markets from Europe to the South Pacific”.