The UK will enter negotiations to join a trans-Pacific trade deal that is viewed as crucial to its post-Brexit pivot away from Europe, towards geographically more distant but faster-growing economies.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership removes 95% of tariffs between its members: Japan, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Peru, Brunei, Chile and Malaysia.
Reuters.com quoted Trade Minister Liz Truss as saying: "This part of the world is where Britain’s greatest opportunities lie. We left the EU with the promise of deepening links with old allies and fast-growing consumer markets beyond Europe. It is a glittering post-Brexit prize that I want us to seize."
The CPTPP might only lead to a minimal gain in British exports or economic growth. But it locks in market access, including for the legal, financial and professional services sectors, and is seen by ministers as an important way to gain influence in a region where China is increasingly the dominant economic force.
Joining the CPTPP in its current format could add around 1.8 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) to the economy over the long-term - or less than 0.1% of pre-pandemic gross domestic product, according to British government modelling published on Tuesday.