CPTPP membership ‘overwhelmingly good for Britain’, argues new report

A new report co-authored by Anthony Mangnall MP makes the case for the UK joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The Looking East report published by the Centre for Policy Studies, argues that the most common objections to CPTPP based on workers’ rights, environmental protection, food standards, agriculture, the NHS, sovereignty, and more do not stand up to serious scrutiny.

Critics of the partnership argue that it would offer very limited benefits to UK exporters, both in the absolute and relative to their EU competitors, and could risk further drawing the UK into complex Asia Pacific geopolitical tensions.

The report argues that there are obvious and overwhelming benefits associated with joining CPTPP – a high-standards free-trade agreement adopted by 11 leading economies including Australia, Canada, Japan and Vietnam.

The report also estimates that the economic benefits of CPTPP include a boost to GDP of an initial £1.8 billion a year, which could reach £20bn as CPTPP expands. However, these estimates are, by the Government’s own admission, very likely to be significantly below the real figure.

Economic analysis shows that all nations and regions of the UK will benefit from increased trade, with Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North among the areas that will benefit most – a boost for the Government’s levelling up and pro-Union agendas.

Mangnall also stresses that at the heart of an expanding CPTPP would bring not only economic benefits but geopolitical ones too, putting the UK at the centre of a growing economic region, providing support for our allies and challenging China’s low-standards approach to free trade in the region.

Rather than viewing membership of CPTPP as an end point in itself, Mangnall claims the UK should see accession to the agreement as a starting point from which to build new high-standards partnerships with its members on a range of issues. It therefore fully endorses the Government’s decision to seek accession to the CPTPP, and urges for this to be a top priority for Britain’s independent trade policy.