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IoD press release CPTPP is a win for the UK but may not shift the dial

Responding to the news that the UK is to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Emma Rowland, Policy Advisor for Trade at the Institute of Directors, said:

“We welcome the news that the UK is to accede to the CPTPP. The Indo-Pacific is an area of dynamic emerging economies where exponential growth will occur over the next decade, an environment that will be very attractive to UK businesses.

“Accession to CPTPP is a win for the UK. This deal will offer UK firms new opportunities to compete in markets with growing consumer demand, high standards on free and fair trade, and strong commitments to services trade. Anything that makes it easier for British businesses to export is good news.

“However, for many businesses, Free Trade Agreements generally do not shift the dial. IoD members have told us that, while they tend to view trade deals as good optics for the UK, they do not have too much sway over firms’ exporting strategies. Customer demand for a firm’s products in the country in question is much more important than whether or not there is a trade deal in place.

“Canada, Japan and Singapore are already important export markets for UK businesses, and three of the biggest economies within the bloc. Similarly, with bilateral deals already in place, or in the process of being signed, with 9 of the 11 members, the economic gains to the UK will likely be quite low.

“So, while flying the flag for ‘Global Britain’ is good for our post-Brexit political standing, the long-term strategic benefits of the deal will really depend on the extent to which emerging markets and future members will contribute to rising demand for UK products and services, and thus the value of the bloc to our economy.”

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