The UK’s ascension to the 11-country Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade bloc will not lead to worse environmental standards or a diminishment of workers’ rights, according to a new think tank report.
The Thatcherite Centre for Policy Studies think tank found new trade activity coming from joining the bloc would only add 0.025 per cent to the UK’s carbon emissions and that joining the bloc had improved workers’ rights legislation in some of the members.
The UK is currently negotiating to join the bloc post-Brexit, with international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan trying to secure membership by the end of the year.
Some critics of the UK’s ascension to the CPTPP – which includes countries like Japan, Canada, Australia, Vietnam and Malaysia – say joining could hold Britain back from reaching its climate change targets.
Greener UK, a coalition of 12 British environmental groups, said to Westminster’s International Trade Commitee last year that the bloc’s rules could mean the UK faces “challenges on policies to support the development of local [renewable energy] industries or mandate ‘green purchasing’ in government contracts”.
There have also been concerns about workers’ rights, with some of the countries involved having laxer labour laws than the UK or EU.
Tory MP Anthony Mangnall, author of the report, said the 11-country bloc “seeks to raise standards and provides a platform for the UK to play a leading role in shaping the future of trade”.
“The benefits to joining are clear – an economic boost to the whole of the UK, geo-political support to our allies, the development and standardisation of global trade rules,” he said.
A Department for International Trade spokesperson said: “We want the UK to be an independent and ambitious global trading hub, and we are positioning ourselves for success by coupling Global Britain to the world’s fastest-growing major economies.
“With a joint GDP of £8.4 trillion and 500 million customers, the CPTPP is one of the biggest economies in the world and will open up unparalleled opportunities for British businesses.”