Britain 'could join trade group on other side of planet after Brexit'

NewsPoliticsMinisters struggle to name ONE country that has expressed interest in a post Brexit trade deal Jack Peat

Britain is reportedly interested in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bloc after it leaves the European Union.

The U.K. has reportedly had informal talks about joining the Pacific Rim trade deal that the 11 remaining member nations have been trying to resuscitate since the US departure last January.

If the United Kingdom is to join the partnership it would mean it's the first country that does not border the Asia-Pacific region to do so. However, Canada, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam remain committed to the agreement.

Greg Hands, the trade policy minister, told the Financial Times: "Nothing is excluded in all of this".

'Nothing is excluded in all of this, ' he said. "With these kind of plurilateral relationships, there doesn't have to be any geography restriction".

Fox is travelling to Beijing and Shenzhen on his first worldwide visit of 2018 to "advance the UK's trade and investment relationship", the Department for global Trade said on its website.

The 11 current members have pledged to retain the measures to lower both non-tariff and tariff barriers to trade contained in the original agreement, which also aimed to implement a process to settle disputes between investors from the countries concerned.

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Currently, these countries hold an 8% share of British exports, most prominently Japan.

The TPP agreement is part of the Obama legacy and one of the first decisions of the Trump Administration was to withdraw U.S. support, as Washington no longer believes in multilateral trade.

But full negotiations on Britain's possible participation in the TPP are unlikely to start until the country concludes its trade talks with the EU. By comparison, Germany alone accounted for 11 percent. The agreement was designed so that it could eventually create a new single market - not dissimilar to the EU. "It's a great thing for the American worker".

Lib Dem Tim Farron said: "This plan smacks of desperation".

Barry Gardiner, the Shadow International Trade Secretary, said: "It is not the main event, and at the moment the government is making a hash of that". These people want us to leave a market on our doorstep and join a different, smaller one on the other side of the world.

The China-proposed Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) is now likely to be in focus as the TPP appears to crumble. "It's all pie in sky thinking".

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