Jan 31, 2021 16:16 UTC
  • UK applies to join Asia-Pacific trading bloc on Brexit anniversary

A year after officially leaving the European Union (EU), the UK is set to apply to join a free trade area with Asia and Pacific nations on Monday (February 01), with negotiations expected in the spring.

Established in 2018, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) covers a market comprised of 11 Asian and Pacific nations.

The UK government believes that joining the group of "fast-growing nations" will boost UK exports.

In this regard, the UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, told the BBC's Andrew Marr show on Sunday (January 31) that joining the CPTPP would offer “enormous opportunities” and in the future “it's going to be Asia-Pacific countries in particular where the big markets are, where growing middle-class markets are, for British products”.

Truss’ comments came in response to Marr’s argument that small businesses were "being throttled day by day with new red tape whether it is musicians, cheese-makers, fishermen and farmers, right across the British economy".

Marr was at pains to add that “the small [hypothetical] business dealing with the reality of Brexit trade regulations” is finding itself “on the edge of going under”.

It is worth noting that in total CPTPP nations, which the UK is striving to join, accounted for only 8.4 percent of all UK exports in 2019, which is roughly the same proportion as Germany alone.