Kemi Badenoch says UK joining CPTPP is ‘very big deal’
Britain’s new Brexit trade deal should not be “derived” as it will open up “access to a market of 500 million people”, a business leader has said. The UK accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) was formally confirmed in a call between Kemi Badenoch and counterparts from the group in the early hours of Friday.
Critics have said the impact will be limited, with official estimates suggesting it will add just £1.8 billion a year to the economy after 10 years, representing less than 1 percent of UK GDP.
But in a note sent to Express.co.uk, Atul Bhakta, CEO of One World Express, said this deal was an “important step in the creation of the UK as a post-Brexit trading powerhouse”.
He said: “The UK has been crying out for major trade deals for two years now. This is what was promised in the aftermath of Brexit, but it has taken a long time for meaningful trade agreements to be formed, either with major global powers or sizeable trading blocs.
“Now, we have to be realistic about how significant this particular deal will be. After all, the Government itself predicts a boost to the economy by £1.8 billion; in other words, increase its size by less than 0.1 percent. It is clearly not a game-changer, and no doubt critics will be quick to jump on that.
“But, that said, opening up access to a market of 500 million people, with many goods free from tariffs, this trade deal should not be derided.
“The UK is the first European nation to join the CPTPP. It will undoubtedly open up new opportunities for British businesses to export globally, and anything that reduces red tape and helps the export market should be celebrated.
“It might not be a landmark deal for the UK, but it is one that should be welcomed all the same – it is an important step in the creation of the UK as a post-Brexit trading powerhouse.”
The agreement represents Britain’s biggest trade deal since leaving the EU, cutting tariffs for UK exporters to a group of nations which – with Britain’s membership – will have a total gross domestic product (GDP) of £11 trillion, accounting for 15 percent of global GDP, according to UK officials.
His remarks come as Sir Keir Starmer welcomed the CPTPP trade pact, but cautioned the “yield is very small” as he called for a “closer relationship with the EU”.
He said: “I welcome any trade deal, but I have to say we need to bear in mind that the net contribution to our economy will be something in the order of 0.08 percent.
“What we need alongside that is a closer trading relationship with the EU. Businesses across the country are crying out for a better deal than the one that the Government has put in front of them.
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“So, yes, good to have a new trade deal, but better to have a closer relationship with the EU to go alongside it and to help our businesses grow our economy and take us through and out of this cost-of-living crisis.”
He continued: “I do think it’s an important trade deal, but the yield is very small. Hopefully that will grow over time.
“But the rule in trade is that you’re more likely to trade with your nearer neighbours more and more often, so we do need that improved, that better trading relationship with the EU alongside any other trade deals that we sign.”
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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it “will help us unlock the benefits of Brexit for people across the UK”.
Ms Badenoch noted that forecast was based on 2014 figures, and highlighted the deal’s future potential.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Think of it like us buying a start-up. It’s not about what it’s doing today, but about the potential for growth tomorrow.
“And the CPTPP countries have over 500 million people at the moment, and we’re starting trade relationship with them that’s going to go into the future for many decades and deliver a lot of growth to the UK.”
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