Thursday 23 September 2021 8:53 am

Liz Truss visits Mexico to boost support for UK to join trade bloc CPTPP

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will travel to Mexico today to build support for the UK to join one of the biggest free trade areas in the world and boost Britain’s diplomatic ties with the country.

“Closer ties with Mexico,” Truss said, “are a key part of our plan to strengthen economic, security and diplomatic links with like-minded allies who share our belief in free enterprise and free trade.”

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a trade agreement between 11 countries which include Japan, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Vietnam and New Zealand.

The UK officially applied to join the trading bloc, which would give the UK 95 per cent tariff-free trade with the 11 nations, in February.

The CPTPP accounts for around 13 per cent of GDP globally, with around half a billion people living in the participating nations collectively.

Member countries benefit from access to each other’s markets, as well as significantly reduced import charges or tariffs.

They are obligated to work together on some regulations including food standards but countries do not need to have exactly the same regulations and standards – a key distinguishing feature from the European Union, as the CPTPP is not considered a single market or customs union.

While the CPTPP accounted for 8 per cent of UK exports in 2019, in the long run membership of the CPTPP could reduce costs for British producers of products like machinery and medicines and provide opportunities for them to develop their supply chains across CPTPP countries.

Truss will use her trip to call for Mexico’s continued support in Britain’s accession into the CPTPP, as well as discuss a new UK-Mexico free trade agreement, which the Foreign Secretary believes is a “key part of Britain’s tilt towards the Indo-Pacific”.

The Foreign Secretary said that Britain’s relationship with Mexico, expected to be the world’s 7th biggest economy by 2050, “has huge potential”, in a statement.

She continued: “It could open vast new opportunities for businesses, support jobs across Britain, and help ensure we play a key role in an open and dynamic Indo-Pacific.”

As part of her visit Truss will open a new British Embassy in Mexico, visit an AstraZeneca vaccine bottling site and attend a dinner celebrating British food with celebrity British-Mexican chef Fernando Stovell.

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