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Jul 16, 2023 / 19:52

CPTPP membership will improve Vietnam-UK trade: Ambassador

CPTPP members share a joint commitment to a rules-based trading system beyond trade in goods and services.

Today, the UK signed the agreement confirming its membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Indo-Pacific trade bloc with a current GDP of US$21 trillion.

 Representatives of CPTPP members at the signing ceremony in New Zealand on July 16. Photos: UK Embassy in Hanoi

The UK’s CPTPP membership will improve trade with Vietnam even more at the rate of $12 billion recently, said British Ambassador to Vietnam Iain Frew, following the signing made in New Zealand with the attendance of trade representatives of all CPTPP members: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Ambassador Frew expressed his delight that the UK has signed the agreement to accede to the CPTPP, saying this shows the UK’s strategic commitment to the Indo-Pacific region.

“I am grateful to the Government of Vietnam for their support and collaboration in accession, particularly meaningful as we celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between our countries,” he said, adding: “I look forward to working closely with the Government of Vietnam, other partners, and businesses to make the most of this new partnership.”

Chairman of the British Corporate Advisory Council in Vietnam, Chairman and CEO of KPMG Vietnam, Warrick Cleine said: “The CPTPP is a trade agreement like no other. While the participants are diverse and span many of the world’s fastest-growing geographies, CPTPP members share a common commitment to a rules-based trading system that goes beyond trade in goods and facilitates the digital economy and trade in services.”

Vitally, the CPTPP should be viewed in the C-suite as another essential part of trade infrastructure - the negotiators and politicians did their part - business leaders now need to lean into the opportunity, he added.

Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam Chris Jeffery said this further opens business opportunities for Vietnam and the UK. With the existing Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) and now the accession to CPTPP, the opportunities availed to British businesses based in Vietnam are some of the best worldwide.

“Our belief is that trade between Vietnam and the UK will continue its rapid growth, marking the start of our next 50 years of partnership and growing links between the two countries. The opportunity is now there for UK companies to fully benefit from the UK’s focus on developing ties and links with Asia,” Chris Jeffery stressed.

Benefits for the UK

This morning, Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch formally signed the treaty to accede to the CPTPP trade bloc in New Zealand, marking the start of the UK’s membership of a modern and ambitious trade deal covering 12 economies across Asia, the Pacific, and now Europe. 

The signing is the formal confirmation of agreement for the UK to join the group, following the substantial conclusion of negotiations earlier this year. The Government will now seek to ratify the agreement, including parliamentary scrutiny, whilst other CPTPP countries complete their legislative processes.

Membership of the trade group is expected to spark further investment in the UK by CPTPP countries, already worth £182 billion in 2021, by guaranteeing protection for investors.

Being part of the bloc member, 99% of current UK goods exports to CPTPP will be eligible for zero tariffs, giving UK businesses are given unparalleled access to a market of over 500 million people.

The UK will be the first European member and the first new member since CPTPP was created, which would have been impossible had the country remained in the EU. With the UK as a member, the CPTPP will have a combined GDP of $21 trillion, accounting for 15% of global GDP.

The British Government will now take the steps needed to bring the agreement into force, which is expected to happen next year.

The agreement is a gateway to the broader 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, bringing new opportunities for British businesses and supporting jobs.

Other benefits of UK accession to CPTPP include boosting services, greater flexibility, pro-investment, cutting-edge, new markets, and cheaper consumer prices. 

 Flags of CPTPP members.