With your permission, Madam Deputy Speaker, I will make a statement on the progress of negotiations for us to join the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership.
I am delighted to announce that since we first launched consultations in 2018, and after nearly two years of talks, the UK has substantially concluded negotiations to accede to the CPTPP. We will become the first country to join since the original partnership was founded. I am also pleased to tell the House that we are delivering on our post-Brexit agenda for a modern, free-trading global Britain, and that this agreement represents the future of global trade. Our negotiators have spent 21 months working painstakingly, and often through the night, to secure the best deal for the UK, and that is what they have done. This is an outstanding deal for our country, giving access to a fast-growing economic bloc that will allow us to sell our goods and services without giving up control of our laws.
Before I continue my statement, let me thank former Secretaries of State for International Trade. I thank my right hon. Friend Dr Fox, who developed this strategy and without whom today would not have been possible. I thank my right hon. Friend Elizabeth Truss, who first appointed me as Trade Secretary, and who launched the negotiations and ensured throughout her tenure that this was a deal that would be delivered. I thank the present Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, my right hon. Friend Anne-Marie Trevelyan, for her support and invaluable advice. I also thank my current and former Trade Ministers.
I am told that Their Excellencies the Japanese and Vietnamese ambassadors are with us today. It should not go without saying that both countries were extremely supportive of our accession. I thank the ambassadors and their countries, and the various negotiators and working groups, for everything that they did to help the UK to accede today.
The CPTPP will act as a gateway to the Indo-Pacific, one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing regions on Earth. The Indo-Pacific is expected to account for the majority of global growth by 2050. The CPTPP will grow nearly 40% faster than the EU over the next three decades, and membership of the bloc will enhance access to a market of more than 500 million consumers for the UK’s goods and services. That is why I described the CPTPP as representing the future of global trade. The brilliant terms that we have secured mean that British businesses will be able to target these dynamic economies, which will account for 15% of global GDP once the UK has joined. As the partnership grows, so will its role in shaping the rules of global trade. This alliance will help us to confront growing protectionism and unfair trading practices, putting us in a stronger position to withstand global shocks.
British businesses will enjoy new opportunities as part of the CPTPP. For instance, 99% of current UK goods exports to its members will be eligible for tariff-free trade, new tariff reductions with countries such as Mexico and Canada will boost export opportunities, and a new free-trade deal with Malaysia will open up a £330 billion economy to the UK.
We will benefit from reduced red tape and simplified customs procedures across the bloc, and from modern rules of origin that offer British businesses new export opportunities and could help support UK efforts to diversify critical supply chains. We have all seen what can happen to supply chains when economic shocks happen. This global flexibility with like-minded partners will help British firms to become more resilient and protect economic security. For supply chains, this partnership is the future of global trade.
As a Minister who represents a rural constituency, I understand the concerns farmers may have about trade agreements because they have told me about them many times, so I know that Members representing agricultural communities will be delighted with the opportunities the CPTPP presents. I would like to put on record my thanks to the President of the National Farmers Union, Minette Batters, for recognising the opportunity to, as she puts it,
“get more fantastic British food on plates overseas”.
As the world’s demand for meat and dairy changes, having better access to growing and dynamic economies in other parts of the globe will protect British farmers and food producers into the future.
Our farmers will benefit from increased market access on these products, including through tariff free exports to Mexico for beef, pork and poultry and new zero-tariff access to Canada’s butter and cream market, which we did not have under our existing EU roll-over agreement. Our cheesemakers will have new market access to additional shared quotas, equating to about 7.5 times the amount we currently export to Canada, and our distillers will benefit from the elimination of tariffs of around 80% on UK whisky to Malaysia within 10 years. So for food and drinks exports, the partnership represents the future of global trade.
The UK is already a services superpower. Our digital, financial and legal services, among many others, are the envy of the world. This world-leading agreement will help them to grow further still. In future, a British firm will be able to operate on a par with a Vietnamese one without setting up a Hanoi branch. British firms will face less red tape in doing trade and business travel will become smoother and easier. For the modern services and tech economy, the partnership represents the future of global trade.
As you will know, Madam Deputy Speaker, no trade agreement comes without a quid pro quo, but we have taken our time to get this deal right for the UK and we never compromise on food quality or animal welfare standards. Joining CPTPP is no different. We will not have to change our standards to join, including on chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-fed beef, as many detractors would like to have the British public believe. We have also made sure that our high environment and labour standards are protected, so the CPTPP agreement includes comprehensive chapters for environmental protections, anti-corruption and improving workers’ rights. We have secured appropriate protections for the UK producers, reducing import tariffs in a manner proportionate to the market access we have received, and maintaining protections where needed.
Membership will enable us to shape the future of the agreement, including its future membership, and it will increase our influence and that of the wider bloc in setting the rules of the global economy. CPTPP shows how sovereign countries can uphold high standards without being subject to foreign court rulings or membership fees.
Parliament will rightly want ample opportunity to scrutinise this deal before ratification. My Department will follow the process set out in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. Parliament will also have the opportunity to scrutinise any implementing legislation, as was the case with the recent Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Act 2023. The people of this country have voted for the future of global trade, not the past. On goods, on services, on supply chains, on growth and on rules-based trade without ceding sovereignty or losing control of our borders, this agreement lives up to that instruction. We are securing a place for the UK in the future of global trade, and I commend this statement to the House.
I am of course grateful to the Secretary of State for giving me advance sight of her statement, but having listened, the detail is paper thin. The published negotiating strategy from the UK Government was limited and even the policy paper that was published alongside the announcement on
We on the Labour Benches are pro-trade, pro-business and pro-worker. Accessing new markets is essential, and it is particularly welcome because of the Government’s dreadful record on trade. The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that UK exports are due to fall by 6.6% this year, which is a more than £51 billion hit to the UK economy. That will only further impact on our public services, which are already under incredible pressure, and make the cost of living crisis even worse.
What exactly Ministers have agreed to in these accession talks will need to be scrutinised carefully, because I have watched Ministers come into this Chamber to laud trade deals, only to criticise them when they leave office or, in the Prime Minister’s case, when they are temporarily out of office—he said the Australia deal is “one-sided.”
This announcement was slipped out on the last day before recess. Of course it is great that the Secretary of State is here, but answers are needed. First, other countries that have joined CPTPP have secured important safeguards and support for their producers. It is vital that Ministers set out the details of what they have negotiated. In her statement, the Secretary of State mentioned that all trade deals involve a quid pro quo, but she did not say what the quid pro quo is in respect of CPTPP.
Specifically, New Zealand put in place side letters with all the other signatories to opt out of the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, which could give investors from abroad the right to sue the Government for choosing to regulate in a particular area. The Government seem to have excluded ISDS with Australia and New Zealand, but not with the other countries. Why have they done that, and what assurance can the Secretary of State give that the Government can legislate in the interests of the British people without the threat of being sued under this mechanism?
The Secretary of State mentioned maintaining certain protections for agriculture, but can she be more specific? What particular support will the Government offer to the agricultural sector and when, particularly given the strong feeling that Ministers sold out our farmers to get the Australia deal over the line? Have specific conditions been put in place to address concerns about the importation of palm oil, which has been linked to deforestation?
The Secretary of State did not even mention the devolved Governments in her statement. What engagement does she proposes to have with them? What detailed assurances can the Government provide that the CPTPP agreement will not undermine the Windsor framework?
The Secretary of State also mentioned our influence as a member of CPTPP. We know that China applied to join in September 2021, so what assurances on economics and security have Ministers asked for from existing members in respect of China’s application?
The Secretary of State also mentioned the chapters in CPTPP, including on workers’ rights, on which she will know there are concerns in particular member countries. How will Ministers assure us that the strongest possible workers’ rights are adhered to, to ensure that UK workers operate on a fair playing field and that vulnerable workers internationally do not face exploitation?
I know that the Secretary of State does not accept the estimate that accession is worth 0.08% of GDP but, rather than debate the figure, what proactive steps will the Government now take to support our exporters to ensure the figure is driven up?
I am very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his questions. I know it must be difficult to sit on the Opposition Front Bench and find a way to celebrate while we agree this fantastic trade deal. The Labour Front Bench look like they have been sucking lemons. I am thrilled to be able to answer pretty much all his questions.
First, the right hon. Gentleman claims that this deal has happened at the expense of the India free trade agreement, but I stood at this Dispatch Box and told him that it is about the deal not the day. I know the Labour Front Bench would like us to rush into a deal that does not get the best for this country so that they have something to criticise, but we are not going to do that. We are going to negotiate a free trade agreement that is of mutual benefit and meets the needs of both UK and Indian citizens.
The right hon. Gentleman is right to say that we have not got a US FTA, but that is because the US is not doing FTAs with any countries; this has nothing to do specifically with the UK. When Administrations change, we cannot control what the partner country wants to do. So instead of just moaning, we have got on and signed memorandums of understanding with US states. Indeed, the Minister of State, Department for Business and Trade, my hon. Friend Nigel Huddleston is not here today because he is on a plane to Oklahoma to sign such a deal. I am pleased to let the House know that.
The right hon. Gentleman talks about a quid pro quo, and this is absolutely right. One trade lesson 101 that I would like to give him is: you cannot agree a trade deal where you get everything you want and tell the people on the other side that they can have nothing. If he has a formula for negotiating a deal where we can sell everything to other countries and they cannot sell anything to us, he should come to the Floor of the House and explain how that can be done. A quid pro quo means having a deal that is of mutual benefit: we open our markets and they open theirs. When the legal text is done and we sign the agreement, there will be plenty of time to scrutinise—[Interruption.] He is chuntering from a sedentary position, “What is it? What is it?”. I would like him to read the statement or listen to it. We have said that 99% of goods will be tariff-free. That is something that we have negotiated across all parties. We have also talked about what we get from rules of origin.
The right hon. Gentleman was clearly listening to me on the radio when he heard me dispute the 0.08% figure. That is not because the figure is wrong; it is because it is doing something different from what he thinks it is doing. It is a model, not a forecast. What we do with models is quite different from what we do with forecasts. The model he is touting at the moment is not tailored for the specific behaviour and dynamics of the UK economy, it uses data from 2014 and it excludes growth in the membership of the bloc to those who have applied. So what we should not look at is the 0.08% figure, as it is purely a measure of what would happen if we did not have this trade deal—that is how the model works, and models are not forecasts. Instead, I ask him to focus on the facts, which I have repeated time and time again: the global middle class is going to be coming from the Indo-Pacific; we are talking about 500 million consumers; and by 2050, it is going to outstrip the European Union. We are getting in from the ground up and we are going to be shaping the future of the UK for future generations. This is not about trying to grow trade in the next five minutes. I have used the example previously, but this is like investing in a start-up and complaining that it is not brought any money in as soon as you have signed the agreement. We are thinking about the future, not the past.
The right hon. Gentleman also mentioned what we are doing for the agricultural sector, and I point to what the National Farmers Union said. We know that British farming is not going to succeed unless we can export. We have created an exporting deal; this is not just about the exports, but the services. All of that is going to benefit farmers and the agricultural sector, to the point that the NFU has come out to support this deal. I hope that Opposition Members can do that, even though it was us who negotiated it. I would like it if they would think about the country and not just about party politics.
I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on her unshowy focus on delivery. Will she place on record, from the Dispatch Box, her and the Government’s gratitude to our chief trade adviser, Crawford Falconer, and to the brilliant guy who has led the negotiations in the Department, Graham Zebedee, who has been tenacious in getting this deal over the line? She is right to say that we need to look again at the modelling that the Department uses for these deals. In doing that, does she agree that the best way to prove the doomsayers wrong is to herald the opportunities that accession to the CPTPP opens up to British businesses in every part of our United Kingdom and encourage them to exploit those opportunities for the benefit of the UK economy?
Absolutely. I thank my right hon. Friend for his comments and also for the work he did when he was a Trade Minister in the former Department for International Trade. He is absolutely right to praise Crawford Falconer, the lead negotiator in the Department —or a “legend” as most other people would describe him—and also Graham Zebedee, who, at great personal cost to himself and his new baby, was out there negotiating a very difficult multilateral, not bilateral, deal.
My right hon. Friend is right to make the point about the figures and the modelling. This is a challenge that we face: there are many people who are, by and large, functionally innumerate and do not necessarily know when to use figures. The figures that we released from the Department were an impact assessment on the absence or presence of a trade deal. They are being misused by all sorts of detractors. [Interruption.] The shadow Minister says that civil servants do not tell lies. No, they do not. I have not said that the figures are incorrect; I have said that they are doing something quite different from what Labour Front Benchers think they are doing. I will explain it as much as is possible, but I cannot understand it for them. If they would like a lecture on what these forecasts and impact assessments do, I am very happy to give them one at a future date.
I thank the Secretary of State for advance sight of her statement. No matter how she tries to dress this up, the CPTPP will still be a low standards agreement that lacks adequate safeguards and represents a poor substitute for all the trade deals that we have left behind. If this represents the future, then it is no wonder that people in Scotland are looking for a different future in that regard.
Previous Ministers—including the previous Brexit Secretary, no less—failed to understand the important role that the port of Dover plays in UK imports and exports. I would not normally consider this necessary, but I feel that I may have to explain, for the benefit of some of the sedentary chunterers across the Chamber, that the Pacific is quite some distance away from the UK, which is why even the Government’s own forecasts are predicting that the UK emissions of greenhouse gases will increase as a result of this deal.
The deal threatens UK food standards because it could open the door to pesticides that are banned in the UK for health and environmental reasons. Worryingly, it also includes text about investor-state dispute settlement clauses, with all the implications that carries, and for absolutely what? The Minister can dance on the head of a pin about the difference between models and forecasts, but the deal is still a pale imitation of the trade deals that we have left behind, with the 4% hit to GDP from Brexit.
Why are the Government so desperate to agree a deal that carries so many risks for so few potential rewards? Where is the support for the domestic agrifood sector? Finally, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ActionAid, Fair Trade and the Trade Justice Movement all say that the deal makes a mockery of this Government’s sustainable trade goals. Are they wrong?
Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to apologise to our friends from Japan and Vietnam who had to listen to that diatribe, and to the hon. Gentleman calling this a low standards trade deal. It is just embarrassing and, frankly, really poor for diplomacy. This is a high standards deal. I know that it is a high standards deal because we went through agony in order to make sure that we could meet the high thresholds that the countries had set for us.
It is completely untrue to say that this deal lowers food standards. Food standards are not part of a free trade agreement. This is not the EU. We are not joining a political union. Our regulations stay in the UK. Fundamentally, that is something the SNP and other Members do not understand. We make the rules about our food standards. That means that if something does not meet UK food standards, it cannot be bought and sold into this country. What this deal is about is trade, not regulation. If Scotch whisky representatives and other Scottish exporters had to listen to what the hon. Gentleman had to say, I think they would be most incredibly disappointed. He does not understand trade. He is yet another person who has just read a press release from campaign groups and has not tested the arguments. I am very happy to stand at the Dispatch Box and rebut all that rubbish.
I wholeheartedly endorse my right hon. Friend’s comments. He is correct: this is purely a trade deal. I did not have the opportunity to say so in answer to Richard Thomson earlier, but to call this a “low standards agreement” is to forget its genesis. This deal was signed by the US, when it was called the trans-Pacific partnership, in 2016. The person who did not want it was President Donald Trump, so it is interesting to find that the hon. Gentleman and President Trump both disagree with the benefits of this deal—he is in interesting company. This deal is about the future of global trade and, as my right hon. Friend has just said, it is exactly the sort of deal we should be doing, rather than more political integration with other countries.
It would be quite wrong of me to start commenting on other countries’ accession when we have not even signed our agreement. Of course we will have a lot of interest in which countries will be joining—China is not the only one; Ecuador and South Korea have expressed interest, as has Indonesia. The fact is that we are getting in before others, so we will have a say in what the nature of their accession should be, and that is something to be celebrated.
I congratulate my right hon. Friend on this excellent deal and thank her for the care and consideration she has shown towards our farming community in her comments. Does this deal not put us in a much stronger position for future trade agreements with countries that we want to do business with, including perhaps even the United States?
My hon. Friend is quite right that the standards we are setting here show the roadmap for what the UK is interested in and willing to do, particularly on services, which is quite novel for many of the old free trade agreements out there.
Many of the existing CPTPP members already have integrated supply chains due to their close geographic location in the Indo-Pacific region. One of the criticisms of the deal by experts, coupled with our rupture from the EU single market, is that Great Britain—excluding Northern Ireland—is effectively choosing to be more a customer than a participant in international manufacturing supply chains. What do the deal and the Government’s trade strategy mean for manufacturers in Wales, Scotland and England?
The deal creates more flexible rules of origin regulations, which means that we will be able to sell tariff-free where there are integrated components of multiple products. Creating a more harmonised mutual recognition system between countries will make it much easier for those exporters, particularly in manufacturing, who want to take advantage of that. However, we also need to remember that this is not just an export of goods deal, but a services deal. Richard Thomson talked about distance, but we cannot put services on a container. One of the fantastic things here is that we are making regulations easier across the board in those services sectors I mentioned, and that will be good for Scottish businesses as well.
I certainly welcome the opportunities for the Scotch whisky industry in Malaysia. Does my right hon. Friend agree that countries such as Australia and New Zealand, both of which have Labour Governments, have welcomed the UK’s accession to the partnership not just for the trade opportunities, but because of the values of this country and because they believe that our commitment to rules-based trade will enhance and grow the partnership?
My right hon. Friend has said it better than I could. This deal has been universally welcomed across the board by countries with Governments of different political flavours, because they recognise that it is good not just for the UK or for them, but for global trade more broadly.
Yes, there was discussion. The process started in 2018, so it is not just something that happened under my tenure. There will be the usual process of parliamentary scrutiny under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, where we will be able to look at all the detail, just as we did with the Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Act 2023.
I serve as the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Japan and as chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Japan.
Negotiations of the CPTPP involved a strong commitment from all member states, but will the Secretary of State join me in paying particular thanks to the Government of Japan for their strong support for the UK’s application and their hard work as chair of the accession group? Does she look forward, as I do, to increasingly strong trade and investment between our two countries and other member states, especially in areas such as offshore wind and automotive, as well as in fintech, of which an important delegation from Japan is visiting the UK this very week?
I thank my right hon. Friend for the opportunity to say “yes” wholeheartedly in answer to his question, and to emphasise that this is not just an agricultural deal but one that cuts across multiple sectors. Most of all, I thank him for the opportunity to go into a little detail about Japan’s chairing of the working group. Multilateral negotiations are just so much more complex, in an interesting way, than bilateral ones. I know that, for the Japanese, it was often like herding cats and took quite a lot of effort and patience to get all the negotiating parties in the same place for us to agree a deal, so I am particularly grateful to them for all their work.
The economic growth of CPTPP member Malaysia is largely dependent on palm oil, which raises environmental concerns. What plans do Ministers have to ensure that the UK’s joining does not undermine our environmental principles?
I thank the hon. Lady for her question, especially because it gives me an opportunity to expand on exactly what the implications of the tariff-free rate on Malaysian palm oil are. There are 9,500 lines of products in the tariff register, of which palm oil represents just a handful—maybe up to 10 or so. The UK Government share the regard for environmental protections, and we thought very carefully about them. It was not a decision we took lightly, but we arrived at the conclusion, based on the facts, that we already import only about 1% of Malaysia’s palm oil and that keeping more tariffs on will not reforest. Malaysia has actually done a good job of reducing deforestation—deforestation related to palm oil fell by 60% in Malaysia in 2012—and 72% of UK palm oil imports in 2021 were certified as sustainable, up from 16%, so it is moving in a positive direction. We should not tell the story of palm oil of 20 or 30 years ago; things are quite different now. To go back to my point about standards, the standards for what we will import are written here, not in other countries.
May I thank the Secretary of State, as well as the civil servants, who may be watching on television back in the Department or—heaven forbid—may be even closer by? I remind her that she sent me to Indonesia for a G20 trade meeting, and at that time it looked as if we were going to do a deal in years, not months. Other than her excellence and my departure from the Department, what brought about the speed of that change, and what lessons can be learned for other deals?
I thank my hon. Friend for all his hard work as Trade Minister and on continued strong bilateral relations with Indonesia. I may have misspoken—I think I might have meant Thailand when I said Indonesia in relation to the long list of countries that we are accessing—but he will be pleased to know that a lot of work is being done to continue strengthening economic ties and relations. These are all countries in the Indo-Pacific; they have huge populations and love the UK, not just because he has been visiting and touting all our good works—although that has played a large part in it—but because of the soft power and good diplomatic and global outreach of our civil servants, whom he mentioned, and our diplomats worldwide.
I was worried by the Secretary of State’s answer to Hilary Benn on what we would do if China asked to join. Given the work that has been done in this House, particularly on the Uyghur genocide and on the abuses of human rights and democracy in Hong Kong, I hope that she will join those of us who want to hold China to account. The idea of giving China preferential tariffs right now, or at any point in the near future, is unconscionable. Does she perhaps have warmer words for Taiwan, which has tentatively expressed an interest in joining the trade group, and will she consider having a positive thing to say for Taiwan if it wished to do so?
I thank the hon. Lady for her question. I know what she is trying to do, and I appreciate the effort, but it is not my job, as Trade Secretary, to make foreign policy at the Dispatch Box on an agreement that China is not in. These are hypothetical, speculative questions. They are serious ones, but I am not the Foreign Secretary and it is not for me to answer them. We have had multiple debates in the House about the economic challenge that China presents, as well as on many other issues relating to China, but it has not even joined the bloc. Throwing our weight about and saying who we would or would not block is not the right way to go about things. However, I am very happy to extend warm words about Taiwan. She will know that Government Members have done and said a lot to ensure that it continues to do well economically. It is not for me to go into specifics; it is best for me to be appropriate in the remarks that I make at the Dispatch Box on international diplomacy and foreign policy.
I very much welcome the agreement. As the Secretary of State knows, we have fantastic manufacturing industries in Stoke-on-Trent. In particular, our world-renowned ceramics industry has fantastic products that it is waiting to export. Will she detail the opportunities for these industries to export more of their fantastic wares around the world?
I thank my hon. Friend for his question. The Federation of Small Businesses has said that there are significant export markets for small UK firms. Once we have signed the agreement and have all the legislation in place, he will be able to talk about the trade utilisation of the agreements that the Department for Business and Trade supports. If Members have businesses in their constituency that want to find out more, the best way to find out the specifics for their sector would be to contact their local DBT—as it is now—representative.
I look forward to questioning the Secretary of State on the agreement in more detail at a meeting of the International Trade Committee later this week, because detail is thin on the ground at the moment, although I am sure we will get there. She has mentioned that she cares greatly for sovereignty and the environment. In the negotiations, what concessions were asked for with regard to excluding us from the threat of the ISDS and excluding palm oil, or did our negotiators not even raise those issues?
The key point to explain is that the investment chapter in the agreement includes investor protections, and they are backed by a modern and transparent ISDS mechanism. It is not quite correct to say that there is no protection for investors; we are just doing it in a different way.
It is always funny hearing the Opposition speak about our trade deals, because since they last brought the issue to the House, we have signed a memorandum of understanding with Indiana, North Carolina and South Carolina; made a deal with Israel, Australia and New Zealand; and got a ratification and an improved deal with Japan. We also continue to look at the Gulf Co-operation Council, and now we have CPTPP.
I congratulate the Secretary of State on her work on the trade agreement. She talks about the agriculture community; can she confirm that the Trade and Agriculture Commission will have a role in scrutinising the agreement? She also mentioned that under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, there will be the opportunity for the House to scrutinise the agreement. Will that have to be done within 21 days? Will we have a vote and a debate on the agreement on the Floor of the House?
I am very pleased to confirm to my hon. Friend that we will present CPTPP to Parliament for scrutiny for 21 days after signing, as per the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act, which he mentioned. Relevant Committees will also get time to scrutinise the accession. He will know that we have updated the International Trade Committee regularly at both chief negotiator and ministerial level since the launch of negotiations in 2021. I look forward to all the additional scrutiny that I know that he and other colleagues will provide.
Many exporting businesses would welcome, as the Secretary of State put it in her statement,
“reduced red tape and simplified customs procedures across the bloc”.
However, they want it rather closer to home, I think. Businesses such as Seiont Nurseries in my constituency find that the only practicable way of exporting plants to Ireland is via England, Belgium and France, before finally reaching our near neighbour—a country that is actually visible to us across the Irish sea. Can the Secretary of State tell the House in any detail how this agreement will benefit small exporting businesses in north-west Wales?
It will benefit businesses in north-west Wales in exactly the same way as it will benefit all the nations of the UK—this is not a deal that is particular to any one nation. The hon. Gentleman should tell his businesses about the words of the many business representative organisations and larger company representatives who have been talking about what a fantastic deal this will be for this country; we are happy to provide some of those quotes, if he is concerned. The Windsor framework has made this deal even easier by ensuring that Northern Ireland in particular is not left out and has just the same benefits as all the other nations in the UK—in fact, more benefits.
Laurels in abundance are due to the Secretary of State and her team for a significant achievement. The urgent need to reorient our economy to the east was one of the many reasons why so many of us voted to leave the European Union.
My right hon. Friend will be very pleased to know that I have good news for his sheep farmers, which is that we have created more liberalised market access for them in many of the CPTPP countries. That includes some countries with which we already had deals, but now there will be staged liberalisation—in countries such as Mexico, in particular, there will be significant benefits. As I said earlier, we know that exporting is what will be most helpful to our agricultural sector, and ensuring that farmers in my right hon. Friend’s constituency have more markets and deeper, broader markets to export to is one of the reasons why I am very proud to be supporting this deal.
Unlike the distinct lack of opportunity and ambition among Opposition Members, I very much welcome the UK’s acceding to the CPTPP—it is a real commitment to the Pacific region and to global Britain. What assessment has the Secretary of State made of the future share of the global market of the CPTPP versus that of the European Union?
Quite a significant assessment. As I said in my statement, CPTPP is a trade bloc with over 500 million people and a collective GDP worth £9 trillion, but compared with the EU, it is growing faster. In terms of GDP, the partnership is projected to grow faster than the EU, with the countries currently in the CPTPP expected to increase in size by nearly 60% over the next three decades, compared with 42% for the EU.
One thing that I really want to emphasise, because there seems to be some confusion about this in the broader narrative, is that this is not a deal to replace our deal with the EU. We already have a free trade agreement with the EU—we did not leave with no deal—so we will be the only country that has such a comprehensive EU free trade agreement and is a member of CPTPP. That is quite a unique and fantastic position for the UK economy to be in, so I hope that that is something I have been able to clarify for Members across the House.
The prize for patience and perseverance goes to Paul Bristow.
Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I remind the House that I serve as the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. CPTPP will bring the UK into an exclusive global free trade bloc with Canada, Australia and New Zealand, on top of individual trade agreements of varying depth with each country. Free trade co-ordination between Canada, Australia and New Zealand and the UK is one of the three key aims of the CANZUK campaign. Does the Minister agree that this alliance is another step closer to what is, I believe, the desirable outcome of stronger economic, diplomatic and cultural ties between all CANZUK countries?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. He makes the point very well that CPTPP comes on top of bilateral trade agreements. There are many assumptions that if there is already a bilateral deal, there is no additional benefit from CPTPP, but that is definitely not the case—there is an additional benefit of having a broader market. I talked about the rules of origin and being able to use components from different countries, but he is right about the geopolitical perspective and how we can look at our security, and at our economic security in particular. We can look at things such as critical minerals, where we have just signed a memorandum of understanding with Canada, and the supply chain there. There is a lot of good work being done to help integrate us with like-minded partners around the world.