UK Trade Minister Greg Hands arrived in Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore on 1 February for high level trade talks on how the UK joining CPTPP will boost the economic clout of the world’s most dynamic trade bloc.
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The UK’s membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will add another like-minded partner and strong voice to this powerful alliance, taking the trade bloc’s GDP to £11 trillion.
It will give UK businesses tariff-free access on over 99% of goods to a market of around 500 million customers.
With the next round of CPTPP negotiations taking place soon, the Minister will express the UK’s desire to finalise accession at the earliest opportunity – a top priority for both the Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch and the Minister.
Minister of State for Trade Policy Greg Hands said: "Joining CPTPP will add even more economic clout to this exciting and dynamic trade alliance, helping it grow to £11 trillion or from 12 to 15% of global GDP.
"This visit will also strengthen our bilateral trade relationships with Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore – which total £32bn. These fast-growing economies represent huge opportunities for our life sciences and technology sectors."
Starting in Vietnam, the Minister will head to Hanoi for talks with Vice Minister for Trade & Investment Tran Quoc Khanh. He will also celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations with Vietnam.
He will then head to Malaysia to sit down with the Minister of International Trade and Industry, Tengku Zafrul Aziz and the Minister of Economy YB Rafizi Ramli.
Malaysian investment into the UK has grown considerably, jumping 57% between 2020 and 2021 to £2.4 billion, with the recent £9 billion redevelopment of Battersea Power Station by a Malaysian consortium symbolising this success.
Finishing in Singapore, Hands will meet with the Minister for Trade and Industry, Minister Gan to discuss CPTPP and the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) signed last summer.
The UK-Singapore DEA is the world’s most innovative trade agreement. The Minister will see first-hand how it is fuelling digital trade, benefitting UK and Singaporean businesses. ■