In a speech delivered on 3 July 2020 by Liz Truss, Secretary of State, she spoke passionately about advancing UK trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. Here’s just a selection of her very positive comments…

“These free trade agreements (FTAs) are a vital part of reducing [trade] barriers but also protecting us against protectionism by making sure we keep tariffs and barriers low.

But of all the opportunities I’ve seen, I think CPTPP*** is one of the greatest. It covers 13% of the global economy – if you had the UK that would be 16%.”

***The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

“Membership of CPTPP would hitch the UK to the fast-growing Pacific region. It also helps us strengthen our ties with some of our key international allies like Canada, Singapore and Australia.

This to me is about strengthening the group of countries that believe in free trade but also believe in the rules-based global system.

I also think it’s important to recognise these benefits we could gain by joining CPTPP that we wouldn’t have been able to access as a member of the European Union. There is no ECJ and there is no harmonisation of domestic regulation and there is no seizing of our sovereign power. What it allows us to do is to be part of a modern, rules-based free trade area.

It enables us to sign up to advanced digital provisions. In effect, become part of a digital free trade area and I think that is incredibly important for the UK.”

The principles and aspirations of the UK Government in this regard are to be applauded and here at Kepdowrie Chambers we agree absolutely with the Secretary of State’s concluding comment:

“…the potential gains [for all countries] are enormous….both economically and strategically.”