William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Exporting businesses will welcome the commencement of the accession process to CPTPP. Trading opportunities with the Indo-Pacific are likely to grow in the coming decades although the EU will stay our closest and most important trading partner by far.

Once the Australia and New Zealand free trade negotiations are completed, the UK should have preferential trade agreements with all of its potential CPTPP partners other than Malaysia and Brunei.

If accession is successfully completed, the strong digital trade chapter should provide for greater e-commerce opportunities for UK exporters. We will also want to make the most of the dedicated chapter for SMEs, while the generous cumulation provisions within the rules of origin will create additional flexibilities for manufacturing exporters in how they can organise their supply chains. 

“But it is important that Government works in partnership with business around this accession process right from the start. If the UK plans carve-outs from particular chapters, we need to know what these are early on and have the opportunity to press the views of business on compliance costs and terms.”