What progress his Department has made on the UK’s potential accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
We are preparing ourselves to be able to take a decision on potential CPTPP accession in the light of the ongoing public consultation and the process of accession for new members being established. We are also undertaking further work to understand the opportunities that CPTPP presents, including by engaging with existing members.
I share the Secretary of State’s enthusiasm for the potential of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and greater trade with the countries of the Pacific rim in general. Will he confirm that nothing in the proposals currently being negotiated with the EU would prevent our being able to accede to the TPP? Does my right hon. Friend agree that although it is of course entirely for Malaysia to decide its role in the TPP, both its involvement and our accession would be good for all involved?
The CPTPP states currently account for more than 13% of global GDP—they comprise a combined GDP of around $11 trillion. Their economies are projected to grow to more than $14 trillion by 2023. It is self-evident that if Britain is able to take advantage of growing markets, a country that has a much more ambitious export strategy can benefit hugely. Malaysia will be able to take advantage of the improvement in our bilateral trade.
The work of the Board of Trade is primarily about supporting exports and investment. The board itself does not have a role in trade policy, but the Department is fully co-ordinated with partners across the CPTPP and ready to discuss with them the great potential that exists for the United Kingdom. We should want to extend our trading horizons as we leave the European Union. We need to raise our ambitions, extend our timelines, and widen our geographical horizons if we are to maximise the benefits to the UK of the opportunities that Brexit will bring.