Britain considers joining Pacific group to boost post-Brexit trade

  • Britain considers joining Pacific group to boost post-Brexit trade

Britain considers joining Pacific group to boost post-Brexit trade

The new political and commercial dynamics of Great Britain, as well as the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have created new opportunities that would not have been imaginable less than five years ago.

Britain has started informal talks about joining the bloc in a bid to boost post-Brexit exports, the Financial Times newspaper said.

The inclusion of Britain would mark a return to a 12 member agreement, after the withdrawal of the United States by President Donald Trump previous year. It would be the first TPP member that does not have a coast on the Pacific Ocean or South China Sea.

However, the UK's junior trade minister Greg Hands said there was no geographical restriction that would prevent Britain's participation.

Additionally, while Theresa May and her Brexit team can hold talks with potential trading partners before leaving, nothing concrete can be signed - and that may continue to apply during the transition period. The 11 remaining members include Australia, Singapore and Canada.

A spokeswoman for the Department of International Trade said the government had not ruled out "plurilateral relationships".

At the end of past year, Britain received the approval of EU member states to move to the second stage of the exit negotiations - those for the UK's trade relationship with the European Union. Japan, by far the largest economy in the TPP, accounted for just 1.6 percent of the UK's goods exports in 2016, according to MIT's Observatory of Economic Complexity, which compiles global trade data.

He said: "It is not the main event and at the moment the government is making a hash of that".

Fox told Bloomberg TPP was not the UK's top priority as it negotiates to leave the European Union but that "it would be quite wrong" to rule out a potential deal.

Tim Farron, the former Liberal Democrat leader, said: "This smacks of desperation".

But Labour criticised the interest in TPP and urged ministers to look closer to home and focus on the "key future trading agreement" with the EU. These people want us to leave a market on our doorstep and join a different, smaller one on the other side of the world.