UK in talks to join the Trans-Pacific trade accord

Photo: EPA

UK announced it had stepped up efforts to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, BBC reported. The new alliance is seen as a substitute to the EU. UK hopes to join the other 11 member countries shortly. The British government, which asked to become a member of the TPP in February, said membership was a huge opportunity in a post-Brexit world.

A working group is now expected to be set up to discuss tariffs and rules governing trade and investment. The UK is not expected to join the TPP, which includes Australia, Mexico and Japan, until next year at the earliest. The British International trade secretary Liz Truss said in a statement the decision to begin the accession process was "excellent news". "It will help shift our economic centre of gravity away from Europe towards faster-growing parts of the world, and deepen our access to massive consumer markets in the Asia Pacific. "We would get all the benefits of joining a high-standards free-trade area, but without having to cede control of our borders, money or laws."  She said the government would present plans to Parliament "in the coming weeks" before starting negotiations. Since Brexit, the government has sought to replace many of the trade deals it had as a member of the EU, but has yet to sign one with a new country or trade area.

China, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand have also expressed interest in joining the TPP, which covers a market of nearly 500 million people. The TPP's current members are Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru.

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