The United Kingdom, CPTPP and the strategic tilt towards the Asia Pacific

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Gregg Hands

Open editorial by Greg Hands MP, Minister of State for Trade Policy at the Department for International Trade, published by Diario Financiero newspaper in Santiago, Chile.

By Greg Hands

When Chile became the first country in the world to sign a free trade agreement with the UK after we left the European Union it said a lot about the special partnership our nations share. A relationship founded upon the deep bonds of history, culture and trade that exist between us.

And as the UK charts a new course for herself as an independent trading nation and the global economy recovers in the wake of COVID-19 – we want to forge new bonds with Chile and our other key partners across Latin America and the Caribbean.

After all, with over 600 million people, massive natural resources and a fast-growing middle class, LATAC nations will be at the vanguard of global economic progress in the years ahead and Britain is perfectly placed to partner them in unlocking their trade potential. A major stepping-stone towards achieving this goal is for the UK to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Negotiations on our accession will begin shortly, and we are determined to become the first new member of this global free trade community, which includes three LATAC nations – Chile, Mexico and Peru – among its 11 current members.

By welcoming the UK into its fold, this partnership – which accounts for 13 percent of global GDP – will become even stronger, and gain an even louder collective voice on the world stage. And this presents unprecedented opportunities for trade-led growth between the UK and Chile.

Our two economies are already closely entwined across a range of industries, from aerospace, to financial services to life sciences, with trade between us worth over $2.5 bn in 2019.

And our businesses are partnering in cutting edge sectors that are shaping the global economy of the future from fintech to green finance to cybersecurity.

Trade in goods and service is deep and diverse. After all, we British love your excellent Chilean wine just as much you love our Scotch whisky!

Joining CPTPP would set down a market for strengthening these trade ties further and faster, helping to remove barriers between our markets and providing fresh opportunities for enhanced collaboration and innovation.

Including advanced provisions in areas such as e-commerce, financial services and environmental protection that will energise our work together to shape the products and services of tomorrow.

Britain’s membership would also help broaden the CPTPP’s global focus by providing a new economic and cultural bridge for its members to markets in Europe – while shifting the UK’s economic centre of gravity towards faster-growing parts of the world like the Americas where the greatest opportunities lie.

And the UK offers significant export and investment opportunities for Chile and other CPTPP nations too.

With a market of almost 67 million people, Britain is Europe’s biggest finance hub and its tech capital – with a world-class research and development ecosystem, the lowest corporate tax rate in the G7 and a highly-skilled, flexible workforce.

As the UK and Chile seek to decarbonise our economies and bolster clean growth – we can strengthen our work together in fostering the use of renewable energy solutions, including wind power in which the UK is a world leader.

Together with sharing our capabilities and expertise in areas like carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen power technology.

While deepening our partnership across a range high-growth industries, from tech, to transport to telecommunications.

Using trade to unleash a wave of entrepreneurial energy between the UK and Chile, creating sustainable jobs, generating new business opportunities and delivering prosperity to communities across both our nations.

Producing rich rewards in which we all can share.

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