The King’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament set out the government’s priorities for the next parliamentary session.
Among the proposed bills included in the speech was the Trade Bill which aims to ratify the UK’s position in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The speech stated that the bill will “promote trade and investment with economies in the fastest growing region in the world.”
What is the CPTPP?
The CPTPP is a trade agreement currently between 11 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
When the UK joins the agreement, it will be the first European member and the first new member to join since the partnership was created in 2018. It will also be the third G7 member to join, and the second largest economy in the partnership.
When will the UK join?
The UK concluded negotiations to join the CPTPP in March and Kemi Badenoch, the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, formally signed the Protocol of Accession on 16 July during a visit to Auckland, New Zealand.
The Trade Bill legislation will now be put forward for parliament to approve. Once this has been completed, and the other 11 CPTPP members complete their own legislative procedures, the UK will officially be a member of the partnership. This is likely to happen in 2024.
What does this mean for business?
The benefits of joining the CPTPP for businesses in Wales and across the UK include access to new markets, opportunities to diversify supply chains, opportunities to attract inward investment, and lower or zero tariffs for goods exports.
99% of current goods exports to countries in the CPTPP are likely to be eligible for tariff-free trade. There is good news for importers too as goods coming in from CPTPP members will have lower tariffs.
This will particularly benefit Welsh food and drink exporters as tariffs on Welsh lamb, beef, pork and other food goods will be greatly reduced and Welsh whisky will be able to be traded with certain countries within the agreement for the first time.
The proposed bill also includes enhancing regulatory cooperation on conformity assessments, expanding copyright protections and protecting geographical indications (GIs).
At Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, our policy and trade teams keep up to date with all the latest agreements, regulations and announcements which affect businesses in Wales who trade globally.