The United Kingdom’s business secretary, Kemi Badenoch, has officially signed the accession protocol for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) during her visit to New Zealand.
This move will see the UK become the first new member to join the CPTPP since its formation in 2018 and the first European country to gain entry into the bloc.
The government touts this membership as a crucial step in enabling British businesses to access a vast market of 500 million people in the Indo-Pacific region with fewer trade barriers.
However, critics question its impact, as the government’s technical estimates suggest a modest addition of £1.8 billion annually to the UK economy after a decade, equivalent to 0.08% of Britain’s gross domestic product.
Despite skepticism, proponents argue that the deal represents Britain’s most significant trade agreement since Brexit, fostering closer ties with a group of nations accounting for about 15% of global GDP.
The UK will now embark on the process of ratification, which is expected to take place in the second half of 2024.