London: The UK is set to sign a Pacific trade deal in Auckland next weekend, formally becoming the first new member since the framework came into force, and shifting attention to a list of other applicant countries headed by China.
The signing will take place at a ministerial meeting of members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, hosted by New Zealand, according to a press release from the country’s ministry of foreign affairs and trade. The event is scheduled to take place July 15-16.
“The United Kingdom’s membership of CPTPP sits alongside our bilateral Free Trade Agreement to ensure that Kiwi exporters have unprecedented access to the sixth largest economy in the world,” Damien O’Connor, New Zealand’s minister for trade and export growth, said in a statement Saturday.
The CPTPP was at one time seen as a way of balancing China’s growing influence in the Asia-Pacific. Former President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the agreement in 2017, deflating its size and leaving Japan as the pact’s dominant economy. Tokyo is constantly pressing the US to return.
The existing members are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The bloc, which is home to 500 million people, will be worth 15 per cent of global GDP once the UK joins, according to the International Monetary Fund.
China is next on the list of applicants to join the group, having submitted its application just months after the UK in 2021, followed by Taiwan, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Ukraine.