The bloc is home to over 500 million people and will have a total GDP of £11 trillion once the UK joins

  • UK announces deal to join CPTPP – a major trade bloc in the Indo-Pacific which will have a total GDP of £11 trillion once the UK joins
  • More than 450 businesses in Wales exported to CPTPP countries in 2021 and could benefit after today’s announcement
  • Joining the Trans-Pacific partnership, which contains some of the world’s fastest growing economies, gives Welsh companies, start-ups and farmers access to the world’s emerging middle class

The Welsh economy is expected to benefit after the UK Government today (31 March) announced the conclusion of trade talks with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a vast free trade area spanning the Indo-Pacific.

The bloc is home to over 500 million people and will have a total GDP of £11 trillion once the UK joins. Joining the bloc could boost the Welsh economy by improving businesses’ access to some of the world’s largest markets.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

We are at our heart an open and free-trading nation, and this deal demonstrates the real economic benefits of our post-Brexit freedoms. As part of CPTPP, the UK is now in a prime position in the global economy to seize opportunities for new jobs, growth and innovation.

Joining the CPTPP trade bloc puts the UK at the centre of a dynamic and growing group of Pacific economies, as the first new nation and first European country to join. British businesses will now enjoy unparalleled access to markets from Europe to the south Pacific.

There are numerous opportunities for Welsh businesses to benefit from joining CPTPP, with more than 450 businesses in Wales exporting over £900m worth of goods to CPTPP countries in 2021.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said:

This is an important moment for the UK. Our accession to CPTPP sends a powerful signal that the UK is open for business and using our post-Brexit freedoms to reach out to new markets around the world and grow our economy.

Joining CPTPP will support jobs and create opportunities for companies of all sizes and in all parts of the UK. It is also about giving Welsh businesses improved access to the countries that will be gateway to the wider Indo-Pacific region which is projected to make up the majority of global growth in the future.

Joining the trade bloc will mean more than 99 percent of UK goods exports to CPTPP members will be eligible for zero tariffs. In the long run, it could boost the UK economy by £1.8 billion and lead to a £1.7 billion increase in UK exports to CPTPP countries as result of the reduction of barriers across goods and services according to the Government’s published scoping assessment. Key Welsh exports such as machinery and power generators could benefit from the removal of tariffs as a result of the agreement.

Welsh Secretary David TC Davies said:

This trade deal is great news for Welsh business. CPTPP countries are already an important sector in the Welsh export market. Over 450 companies, including Halen Môn and Fifth Wheel, will benefit from less red tape and better opportunities. These growing markets will help businesses in Wales increase export opportunities and boost the global appetite for Welsh goods and services.

Fifth Wheel Company are a multi-award winning business specialising in the design and manufacturing of luxury tourers. All of their vehicles are assembled in-house at their factory in Rhuallt in North Wales, and they’re excited about the exporting opportunities that will be created by the UK joining CPTPP.

Gethin Whiteley at Fifth Wheel, commented:

We’ve been exporting our luxury caravans to Australia and New Zealand customers for the last five years. The leisure and camping market within these countries is growing, and our products offer the size and space of a motorhome and the practicality of a car and caravan so are perfectly suited to explore.

We have already embarked on a trade mission to strengthen our position in these markets, and we believe that joining CPTPP, along with the bilateral deals, will further assist us in our search to increase exports of our products to markets of growing importance.

Wales-based company Halen Môn produce ANGLESEY Sea Salt, which can be found in over 100 of the UK’s best delicatessens, as well as in retailers such as Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Harvey Nichols.

They already export to more than 22 countries across the globe, including several CPTPP members, and are looking forward to exploring the further exporting potential created by the UK’s accession to the trading bloc.

Alison Lea-Wilson at Halen Môn said:

Anything the UK government can do to help realise the huge potential of trading with CPTPP member states is to be welcomed. We already export to Japan and Singapore and see opportunities in Australia too.

We are delighted to be supplying a Japanese bakery ingredients company with our innovative oak smoked water. There is already a great relationship between Wales and Japan forged in part by rugby, seaweed and even leeks, and we look forward to building on it.

Membership is a gateway to the wider Indo-Pacific region, which has 60% of the world’s population and is set to account for the majority (54%) of global economic growth and around half of the world’s billion middle-class consumers in the decades ahead.

As a member of CPTPP, the UK will help influence and shape global rules for industries of the future like digital, data and services, and secure our place as a global leader in a network of countries committed to free trade.

The UK and CPTPP members will now take the final steps required for the UK to formally sign in 2023.

Published 5 April 2023