Britain’s latest trade deal gives companies access to a market that will become much larger than the EU, the trade minister said today.
Kemi Badenoch says membership in the Indo-Pacific bloc means joining “the world’s most dynamic free trade family.”
The region will be home to a billion middle-class consumers by the end of the decade, she notes. And she promises that exporters will have access to fast-growing economies with a “fierce hunger” for British goods – while the services sector will experience less bureaucracy.
In a letter, Ms Badenoch writes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, whose 11 members include Australia, Japan, Canada and Singapore, to the “rigid” and “unelected” EU.
She calls the BBC – and Labor – short-sighted for citing official figures that the deal will only add a miniscule amount to GDP.
Kemi Badenoch (pictured) says membership in the Indo-Pacific bloc means joining ‘the world’s most dynamic free trade family’
Britain’s entry into the partnership, formally confirmed in the early hours of yesterday, was welcomed by major business groups and the National Farmers Union.
In her article, the rising Conservative star and former party leadership contender adds: “Today we have opened a new era for this country as a trading nation.
“I am convinced that we will feel the benefits, both in the short term and in the decades to come.”
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer yesterday insisted closer ties with Brussels are more important. He told broadcasters on a visit to Plymouth: ‘It’s an important trade deal, but the proceeds are very small. Hopefully that will grow over time.
“But the rule in trade is that you increasingly trade with your nearest neighbours, so we need that improvement, that better trade relationship with the EU in addition to all the other trade agreements that we sign.”
Ms Badenoch had to fend off criticism from the BBC that the deal would add just 0.08% to national output over the next ten years and would not offset losses from leaving the EU’s single market.
She told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We’ve left the EU so we need to see what we need to do to grow that UK economy and not keep talking about a vote from seven years ago.’
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership was signed in 2018 by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam as a way to lower tariff barriers.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer yesterday insisted closer ties with Brussels are more important
Rishi Sunak said UK companies would have ‘unrivaled access to markets from Europe to the South Pacific’
Great Britain becomes the first European member of the group. There is hope that this could lead to the US joining.
Senior Conservatives, including Liz Truss, warned that the UK must now use its position to keep China out of the group.
The government yesterday published a 10-point list of benefits from membership in the “massive free trade bloc”, whose combined GDP could reach £13 trillion if other interested countries such as Thailand and South Korea join.
It is estimated that the deal, described as a ‘gateway to growth’, will add £1.8bn to the UK’s annual GDP over time.
As ‘one of the most modern trade deals in the world’, the deal would be ideal for the UK’s services economy and help companies such as Standard Chartered Bank improve access to overseas markets.
It will also boost digital commerce by making data flow easier and eliminating tariffs on 99 percent of goods exports, such as dairy products.
It gives Britain its first trade deal with Malaysia, meaning cheaper consumer goods such as vacuum cleaners will be imported and car exports will be boosted.
British shoppers can also benefit from “cheaper import prices for high-quality consumer goods such as fruit juices from Chile and Peru and honey and chocolate from Mexico.”
Rishi Sunak said British companies would have “unparalleled access to markets from Europe to the South Pacific.”
He added: “We are an open and free trade country at heart, and this deal shows the real economic benefits of our post-Brexit freedoms.”
Minette Batters of the National Farmers Union said: ‘Joining the CPTPP could provide good opportunities to get more great British food on plates abroad.’
She favorably compared the partnership to post-Brexit deals struck with Australia and New Zealand, which it said would put British farmers at a disadvantage.
And she added, “I am pleased that our government remains committed to our food safety standards.
“It is an absolute common thread for us that food produced with practices that are illegal here – for example, the use of hormones in the production of beef and pork and chemical carcass washing – should not enter our market.”