Sunak formally announces CPTPP deal — market of 580m consumers and GDP of £11 trillion

Graham Charles Lear
5 min readMar 31, 2023

Yesterday March 30 2023 I wrote about the CPTPP deal that we are about to sign, today Sunak formally announced the CPTPP deal. Overnight Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has now confirmed this deal is agreed upon and the legal documents are in preparation.

This a major coup for Brexit Britain and it would not have been possible while the United Kingdom was still a member of the European Union.

Liz Truss deserves credit for starting this deal, over two years ago

During her tenure as International Trade Secretary the Rt Hon Liz Truss MP crisscrossed the globe, promoting British business and initiating trade discussions. Many times I reported positively on her work and it was clear that her enthusiasm for the promotion of post-Brexit Britain was well-received internationally.

She said yesterday

“As Trade Secretary, I made our formal application to join CPTPP two years ago. I am delighted negotiations are completed, deepening UK access to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies. This is Global Britain in action and an important counterweight to those who seek to undermine our values.

“I’d like to pay tribute to all those at the Department for International Trade who put in the hard yards to make this happen. This is a vital development as we seek to boost UK exports to new markets and deliver additional economic growth.”

- The Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, former International Trade Secretary, former PM, 31 Mar 2023

№10’s statement overnight

“The historic agreement follows two years of intense negotiations by the Department for Business and Trade and puts the UK at the heart of a dynamic group of economies, as the first European member and first new member since CPTPP was created. We would not have been able to join as a member of the EU, demonstrating how the UK is seizing the opportunities of our new post-Brexit trade freedoms to drive jobs and growth across the country.

“Total UK exports to CPTPP countries were already worth £60.5 billion in the 12 months to the end of September 2022 and are set to grow under CPTPP. Our leading services industry will also benefit from reduced red tape and greater access to growing Pacific markets with an appetite for high-quality UK products and services.”

№10 statement, 31 Mar 2023

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

“We are at our heart an open and free-trading nation, and this deal demonstrates the real economic benefits of our post-Brexit freedoms. As part of 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 trade bloc puts the UK at the centre of a dynamic and growing group of Pacific economies, as the first new nation and first European country to join. British businesses will now enjoy unparalleled access to markets from Europe to the south Pacific.”

“The agreement protects the UK’s vital industries and entities, including agriculture and the National Health Service, and upholds our high animal welfare and food safety standards. Dairy farmers will benefit from lower tariffs on exports of products like cheese and butter to Canada, Chile, Japan and Mexico, building on the £23.9 million of dairy products we exported to these countries in 2022.”

The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, 31 Mar 2023

Typically, the BBC rubbishes the great news

This trade deal is important, even if the BBC don’t think so.

Here is the very negative headline from the BBC this morning, where they write: “but the UK economy will only get a small boost”

Typical fluff from the BBC, of which I am not surprised, I have got used to the broadcaster rubbishing the UK

This deal liberates services — the UK’s speciality

When it comes to trade deals, the BBC and the government. agencies such as the Office for Budget Responsibility and HM Treasury seem not to understand that international agreements such as CPTPP are not solely about trade in goods.

Yes, tariff-free access to international markets for UK manufacturers is valuable but the UK’s economy is 80% based on services. One of the benefits of the new CPTPP deal is the liberalisation of the restraints on the UK’s services sector in being able to sell into one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. Here is what №10 said overnight.

“Boosting services

The UK is the world’s second-largest services provider and services accounted for 43% of our trade with CPTPP members last year. Joining the bloc will slash red tape — UK firms will not be required to establish a local office or be residents to supply a service and will be able to operate on a par with local firms.

Increased flexibility

Modern ‘rules of origin’ could make British businesses more competitive by allowing them to trade more freely across the bloc. For example, UK car manufacturers could sell car engines tariff-free to a car maker in the bloc who could then sell those cars tariff-free to any member country. This is currently not possible under all the bilateral trade agreements the UK has in place with CPTPP members and will help exporters diversify their supply chains and create new export opportunities.

“Pro-investment

Investment between the UK and CPTPP countries is expected to increase as the agreement contains provisions to limit barriers and encourage more inward investment. Inward investment stocks to the UK from CPTPP countries were worth £182 billion in 2021.

Cutting-edge.

Remotely delivered services from the UK to CPTPP worth £20.5 billion in 2020. CPTPP sets modern rules for digital trade across all sectors of the economy and will support UK businesses of all sizes to seek new opportunities in CPTPP markets.”

№10 statement, 31 Mar 2023

My thoughts on Liz Truss

There is no question but that she deserves credit for her work in promoting the United Kingdom in her international travels.

This massive CPTPP deal is a clear and obvious example. She may not be there for the signing, but she was there at the start.

Regardless of the negative attitude of the BBC (and no doubt of many other media outlets today), this TPTPP deal is a Brexit triumph on many levels.

I will be reporting on the growth in UK international trade since Brexit, confounding those who always do our country down.

Unlike them along with the BBC, I prefer to promote our great country not run it down.

[ Sources: №10 | Department for Business and Trade

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Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.