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UK takes ‘major step’ towards joining Trans-Pacific free trade group

Britain has taken “a major step” in the process of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the British government said Wednesday.

British senior trade officials have “opened discussions” on the potential accession with chief negotiators from all 11 members of the CPTPP, said a statement from the Department for International Trade.

This is the first time Britain has met with chief negotiators from all 11 members of the CPTPP to discuss potential accession, and the first time CPTPP members have had such a discussion with a country seeking membership since the CPTPP was created in 2018, according to the statement.

“The UK held preparatory conversations with all CPTPP members,” said the statement, adding that if Britain decides to apply, it will start a formal accession negotiation with member states.

According to the data revealed by the department, trade between the Britain and CPTPP countries has grown on average by 6 percent every year since 2009 and was worth over 112 billion pounds (about 145.2 billion U.S. dollars) in 2019.

CPTPP members include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

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