UK concludes talks to join CPTPP in move that will boost trade with Malaysia, Indo-Pacific

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 (Bernama) — The United Kingdom (UK) has concluded trade talks with member countries to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) after 21 months of negotiations, boosting trade with Malaysia and the wider Indo-Pacific region. 

The British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur said the trade bloc is home to over 500 million people and would have a total gross domestic product (GDP) of £11 trillion once the UK joins.

“Negotiations, which began in June 2021, concluded after an intense round of talks in Vietnam, with representatives from all CPTPP member countries agreeing that the UK has reached a conclusion of its accession process to join CPTPP,” it said in a statement.

“The UK is the first European country to join the trade bloc, and the first new member since the CPTPP was created, taking it from a Pacific agreement to a truly global one,” it added.

It also said the UK’s accession to the dynamic trade bloc follows news of Malaysia’s ratification last November, in which both countries would gain significantly increased access to each other’s economies soon. 

“UK businesses, that exported £3.3 billion worth of goods and services to Malaysia in the 12 months to the end of September 2022, could benefit from this agreement. It also means significantly better Malaysian market access to the UK market,” it said. 

The high commission said that the UK imported around £2.6 billion worth of goods and services from Malaysia in the four quarters to the end of the third quarter of 2022.

“Businesses and consumers could benefit from preferential tariffs that the UK will offer to Malaysia in CPTPP,” the high commission said. 

British High Commissioner to Malaysia Charles Hay said the UK’s bilateral trade with Malaysia “currently totals £5.9 billion and is on a positive growth trajectory.”

“The UK’s accession to CPTPP and the increased market access for both the UK and Malaysia will enable us to harness the full potential of our bilateral trade and investment relations,” he said in the same statement. 

UK business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch said accession to CPTPP sends a powerful signal that the country has been open for business and using post-Brexit freedoms to reach out to new markets, including in the Asia Pacific region.

“Joining this influential trade bloc will help us to shape the rules of global trade with like-minded nations, and work even closer together on our shared priorities of prosperity, security, and free and fair trade,” she said. 

-- BERNAMA