Liz Truss submits UK's application to join the CPTPP
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And she told a webinar organised by the Conservative Home website Britain was eyeing more free trade deals – including a lucrative one with the United States – as it seeks to extend its influence as an independent, forward-thinking trading nation. Ms Truss, who has recently returned from India for talks aimed at paving the way for an agreement experts predict could be worth up to £100billion, said: “What I think Global Britain represents is a liberalising instinct in favour of free trade, but it is also an ability to do things more flexibly more nimbly and have that freedom of manoeuvre.”
The UK now had an opportunity to be a hub for trade in services, digital and manufacturing, Ms Truss explained.
She added: “We’ve got a trade deal with the EU, but we’re now able to seek to enter the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) worth £9trillion pounds of GDP. We can get deep access to that part of the world.
“We’re also want to strike a trade deal with the United States, and with countries in the Americas as well.
“And that puts us in a quite unique position of being having overlapping trade agreements that enable us to act as a hub for trade.”
Referring to her recent visit, she said: “There’s also huge opportunities I think with India.
“This is a market where there have been very high barriers to the UK, whether it’s the 150 percent tax on whiskey, lots of market access barriers make it difficult to get our products in.
“And again, I think the flexibility we now have as an independent trading nation will enable us to build trade with India, in a way that a country like Japan, not part of the EU has been able to deal with.”
Ms Truss continued: “There’s also an opportunity, being the fifth largest trading nation exporting nation the world and the second-largest exporting trade nation in services, for the UK to shape the future of trade.
“And I think we’ve got a really exciting agenda which is free and fair trade.
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“When we have struck trade agreements like the one we’ve struck with Japan they have gone further and faster in areas like digital and data, the creative industries mobility and business people, but we also believe in fair trade.”
Brexit also represented a “massive opportunity” for the UK to engage in more trade with the rest of the world, and to driving an “export-led recovery, Ms Truss stressed.
She said: “We know that there are an increasing amount of jobs linked to trade, increasing those jobs are linked to trade with the rest of the world. And we know those jobs pay more. And they’re also more productive and can help drive economic growth.
“A lot of the people who voted Conservative for the first time voted because they wanted to see industry reviving their local area they wanted to see more successful jobs, they wanted to see and be proud of goods that they sell overseas.”
In order to repay the areas of the UK which had voted for Tory for the first time in 2019, the Government needed not only to deliver new free trade agreements, but also deliver corresponding exports again, Ms Truss explained.
She added: “It’s noticeable in some of the polling that we have done as a Government that in fact trade policies are particularly popular in that part of the world and of course that harks back to the days of the abolition of the Corn Laws when free trade liberated us parts of this nation to be able to trade with the rest of the world.
“And what has happened as a result of being in the EU for a significant period of time, is we have seen a lot of barriers to trade with the rest of the world.
“We’ve seen high tariff walls, we’ve seen bans on British produce whether that’s the beef ban or the lamb ban into Japan.
“And our own independent trade policy gives us the opportunity to work to lift those bans, but also to reduce tariffs on key industries like ceramics on the car industry and robotics, all of which are significant industries outside London.”
Looking further ahead, Ms Truss said: “I also think we need to look at the shape of the global economy in 10 or 20 years time.”
“We know that by 2030, approximately two-thirds of middle class consumers are going to live in Asia.
“There’s going to be increasing demand there for British goods so opening up more of those markets reducing the tariffs into those markets is going to help drive jobs and growth across the UK.”
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