Britain to join trans-Pacific trade pact

STORY: Britain has struck a deal to join the 11-country trans-Pacific trade pact.

The move aims to deepen ties with the region and build global trade links after leaving the European Union.

The trade deal is known as CPTPP or the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Friday (March 31) it was the country's biggest trade deal since Brexit.

Britain has tried to build trade ties after it left the EU in 2020, and targeted geographically distant but fast-growing economies.

Its move towards the Indo-Pacific comes as its foreign policy framework sees China as an era-defining challenge.

Canada, Japan, Mexico and Australia are among the members of CPTPP.

Exports to member countries from Britain were worth $75 billion in the year to the end of last September.

But the overall impact of the trade deal is set to be modest.

A government impact assessment estimated it would add just 0.08% to GDP in the long term.

Britain said the deal would boost the economy by $2.2 billion each year in the long run.

The country also has strategic reasons for joining the pact.

It can now influence whether applicants China and Taiwan may join the group.