UK says it aims to join Trans-Pacific free trading group

FILE PHOTO: Representatives of the countries members of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, Tran Quoc Khanh, Minister for Trade and Industry of Singapore, Chan Chung Sing, Minister of International Trade Diversification of Canada, James Carr, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile, Roberto Ampuero, Director General of the Direction of International Economic Relations (Direcon) of Chile, Rodrigo Yanez, Minister for Trade and Export Growth of New Zealand, David Parker, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Kiyoto Tsuji and Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy Trade and Industry of Japan, Akimasa Ishikawa, take part in a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Santiago, Chile May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido

LONDON (Reuters) - The United Kingdom announced on Wednesday it would pursue accession to a revamped version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“Today we’re announcing our intent to pursue accession to CPTPP, one of the world’s largest free trading areas,” Trade Secretary Liz Truss said.

The British government said joining CPTPP would help the UK overcome the challenge posed by the coronavirus and would help diversity its trade links.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a free trade agreement that links Canada and 10 other countries: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Once fully implemented, the 11 countries will form a trading bloc representing 495 million consumers and 13.5% of global GDP, according to the Canadian government. If the United Kingdom were to join, that share of global GDP would rise to about 16%.

The United Kingdom left the European Union on Jan. 31 but the main terms of its membership remain in place during a transition period until the end of this year. Both the UK and EU hope to negotiate a new free trade deal between them by the end of the year.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Stephen Addison