Brexit breakthrough: Super trade bloc would ‘love working with UK’

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Potential post-Brexit trade deals with other countries took a turn for the worse after US presidential nominee Joe Biden warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson that no trade agreement would be reached between the two should Northern Ireland’s peace agreement be compromised. Mr Johnson is proposing new legislation that would break the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit divorce treaty that seeks to avoid a physical customs border on the island of Ireland. Mr Biden, who is currently ahead of the incumbent, Donald Trump, in national opinion polls, said in a tweet: “We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit.

“Any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”

The UK government has already ventured abroad for other business partners, having last week struck an agreement with Japan – its first major trade deal since leaving the EU.

The move made many hopeful that it could open the path for the UK to sign up to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – a free trade agreement comprising Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, widely regarded as being spearheaded by Japan.

Sean King, senior vice-president of Park Strategies in New York and an affiliated scholar at University of Notre Dame’s Liu Institute, previously told that the UK’s chances of signing up to the bloc would increase should it first commit to a trade deal with Japan.

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On top of increased chances on signing a trade deal with Japan, Mr King said the bloc would “love to have the UK in” to further become one of the world’s trading behemoths.

He explained: “Japan is really the dominant power within CPTPP so if Japan wants you in that’s a head start.

“For political purposes they would love to have the UK in, and the UK would benefit for its own political purposes, plus curbing China’s influence, as well as economic needs.

“Japan is the fifth largest foreign direct investor in the UK; it’s the UK’s 11th largest trading partner and also Canada, Australia and Singapore are the UK’s 18th, 19th and 20th largest trading partners respectively.

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“Otherwise I don’t think any other CPTPP members even figure in the UK’s top 20 trading partners but there’s no reason that can’t be expanded.

“Added to this is the fact that six of the eleven existing members are Commonwealth countries so that’s got to count for something too.

“Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, are all countries with which Britain has good relations.”

The CPTPP in 2017, comprised a $10.5trillion (£8tn) economy of 500 million consumers, representing around 13 percent of global GDP – more than the Eurozone’s five largest economies combined, according to a Royal Bank of Canada report.


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All countries within the CPTPP enjoy international free trade on exports and imports.

This has proved especially true in emerging markets within countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei who have welcomed an influx of foreign direct investment and global manufacturers opening factories on their soil.

The CPTPP would also provide the UK with preferential access to key markets in Asia and Latin America.

Trade talks with Japan had initially stalled after International Trade Secretary Liz Truss requested better terms for British blue cheeses.

Following the success, Ms Truss said it was a “historic moment”.

Critics have, however, pointed out that the deal may be nothing more than symbolic, as it would boost UK GDP by only 0.07 percent – a fraction of the trade that could be lost with the EU.

Ms Truss said the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement means 99 percent of exports to Japan will be tariff-free.

She said: “The agreement we have negotiated – in record time and in challenging circumstances – goes far beyond the existing EU deal, as it secures new wins for British businesses in our great manufacturing, food and drink, and tech industries.

“From our automotive workers in Wales to our shoemakers in the North of England, this deal will help build back better as we create new opportunities for people throughout the whole of the UK and help level up our country.”

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has said a UK-EU agreement on trade must be done by October 15 if it’s going to be ready for the start of 2021.

Stalls have largely revolved around areas such as workers’ rights, competition and environmental policy.

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