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Effective implementation of CPTPP required says Lords Committee

The International Agreements Committee believes that the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) could be of strategic importance, but effective implementation will be key to maximising any potential benefits for British businesses.

Report

In its report, the Committee reports the Accession Protocol of the United Kingdom to CPTPP – a free trade agreement between 11 countries, now accounting for 15% of global GDP - to the House for special attention and debate.

The Committee notes that the economic gains of accession are limited, though accession does offer new market access to Malaysia and Brunei. The Committee expresses concern about the extent to which businesses in general, and SMEs in particular, will be able to take advantage of the new provisions in CPTPP.

The Committee acknowledges potential strategic advantages of greater engagement in the region afforded via CPTPP membership – but notes that the primary function of CPTPP is as a trade agreement. The report recognizes some value in using CPTPP as a forum for cooperation with like-minded countries to discuss shared challenges in international trade. However, against the backdrop of a more protectionist global trade environment, the utility of CPTPP as a rallying point is likely to be limited, the Committee suggests.

The Committee also welcomes the current consultation on the forthcoming ‘General Review’ of CPTPP, which takes place among all members this year. It calls on the Government to set out and publish its priorities for the review, and for a longer-term plan for the development of CPTPP.

Chair's comments

Lord Goldsmith, Chair of the International Agreements Committee said:

“As of July 2023 the UK is the twelfth country to join and the second largest economy after Japan. For the UK, CPTPP is more than a trade agreement. It also forms a part of the Government strategy to deepen its engagement with the Indo-Pacific region. 
“If the potential economic benefits are to reach beyond the current marginal predictions for growth, the Government needs to engage proactively with UK businesses in an ongoing dialogue. We have recommended a task force to build the overall capacity of UK businesses to use CPTPP.

“Furthermore, an expanded membership of CPTPP could open up new markets for UK goods and services. We call on the Government to explain in their response to this report what impact they expect future accessions to have on the ability of the CPTPP to innovate and modernise.

“Lastly, we welcome the improvements made in consultation with the devolved nations, and reiterate our call for the Government to continue to provide detailed, timely, transparent and comprehensive engagement to ensure that the views of the devolved administrations are clearly represented throughout negotiations.”

Further information

Channel website: http://www.parliament.uk/

Original article link: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/448/international-agreements-committee/news/200113/effective-implementation-of-cptpp-required-says-lords-committee/

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