DEBATE: Should the UK join a Pacific trade zone after leaving the EU?

Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing region in the world (Source: Getty)

Should the UK join a Pacific trade zone after leaving the EU?

Radomir Tylecote, a senior research analyst of the Legatum Institute's Special Trade Commission, says YES.

Joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would be a true statement of intent by global Britain. The agreement is being reset after American withdrawal. Membership would demonstrate Britain’s new trading independence.

The TPP is one of the most advanced trade agreements in the world, but doubters have suggested that, not being a Pacific nation, Britain should not or cannot join. Not so. TPP is an open agreement, and signatories have indicated they want us on board.

But we won’t be able to join in just any circumstances. We will need control over not only tariffs, but also regulations currently determined by the EU. Many do not meet TPP standards – for example, in data flows and agriculture – as they favour incumbents, harming consumer welfare. Being ready to join the TPP, and other agreements, will require that we determine regulations ourselves.

Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing region in the world, and the TPP gives Britain a trading opportunity we should not miss.

‚ÄčRead more: Liam Fox: It's too soon to seek membership of the TPP

Alison McGovern, Labour MP for Wirral South and former shadow city minister, says NO.

A huge geographical area, made up of many countries of different economic sizes and purposes, is exactly the kind of bloc Britain be should trading with.

But we already do, far closer to home. It is called the Single Market, and it is on our doorstep. A huge 54 per cent of UK imports and 44 per cent of UK exports went from or to the EU in 2016.

Surely the Department for International Trade would not want us to lose this valuable market? The question is simply what tariffs and barriers are put in place if we leave the Single Market and Customs Union.

Sheer proximity, as well as economic demand, will necessitate that we trade with Europe. Trade deals with Pacific countries are already possible as part of the Single Market, which brokers deals for us. This suggestion of joining a trade bloc thousands of miles away is desperate kite flying from a failing Tory government. Britain cannot just float into the Pacific Ocean.

Read more: UK scouts out Pacific bloc for post-Brexit trade

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