Nigel Huddleston – 2023 Statement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

The statement made by Nigel Huddleston, the Minister for International Trade, in the House of Commons on 18 July 2023.

The Secretary of State for Business and Trade signed the accession protocol to the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership on Sunday 16 July in Auckland. The UK will be the first new member since CPTPP was created. With the UK as a member, CPTPP will have a combined GDP of £12 trillion and will account for 15% of global GDP. Accession to the agreement sends a powerful signal that the UK is using our post-Brexit freedoms to boost our economy. It will secure our place as the second largest economy in a trade grouping dedicated to free and rules-based trade. It gives us a seat at the table in setting standards for the global economy.

The agreement is a gateway to the wider Indo-Pacific, which is set to account for the majority of global growth and around half of the world’s middle-class consumers in the decades to come. That will bring new opportunities for British businesses abroad and will support jobs at home. More than 99% of current UK goods exports to CPTPP countries will be eligible for zero tariffs. The UK’s world-leading services firms will benefit from modern rules, ensuring non-discriminatory treatment and greater transparency. That will make it easier for them to provide services to consumers in other CPTPP countries.

In an historic first, joining CPTPP will mean that the UK and Malaysia are in a free trade agreement together for the first time. That will give businesses better access to a market worth £330 billion. Manufacturers of key UK exports will be able to make the most of tariff reductions to that thriving market. Tariffs of around 80% on whisky will be eliminated within 10 years, and tariffs of 30% on cars will be eliminated within seven years. Joining CPTPP marks a key step in the development of the UK’s independent trade policy. Our status as an independent trading nation is putting the UK in an enviable position. Membership of that agreement will be a welcome addition to our bilateral free-trade agreements with more than 70 countries. I pay tribute to the many officials and Ministers who have worked on this deal over the past two years, some of whom are in the Chamber today.