GT Voice: Will CPTPP’s expansion affect the structure of world trade?

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Illustration: Tang Tengfei / GT

The UK reportedly began formal negotiations on Tuesday to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trade bloc of 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss presented CPTPP membership as a “brilliant post-Brexit” award in a statement, noting that “this part of the world is where the greatest opportunities lie in the world. Great Britain ”, according to the media.

Since leaving the EU, Britain has actively sought to build its own trade network and has made no secret of its intention to pivot its trade interests to the Asia-Pacific region.

Many see membership in the CPTPP as a crucial step in Britain’s new business vision, as successful inclusion in the CPTPP will make it easier for the UK to access the fastest growing economic region in the world. world.

While some may argue that the CPTPP is unlikely to boost UK exports due to the lack of trade complementarities between the UK and CPTPP member countries, the UK move nonetheless represents a welcome attempt that may contribute to the emergence of a new model of international trade. due to the enhanced interactions between European countries and Asian supply chains.

Equally important to the CPTPP is the opportunity behind such a possibility. Since the inception of the CPTPP, the expansion of its membership has attracted a lot of attention and interest. Indeed, although the CPTPP has been viewed as a top-level free trade agreement with high-level free trade rules, its limited economic and trade capacity has cast doubt on the role the trade pact could play in shaping the economy. facilitation of regional economic integration.

The original Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which never came into effect due to the withdrawal of the United States, was supposed to represent 40% of the world economy, while the CPTPP is equivalent to around 13% of world GDP and about 14% of global GDP. Trade.

After losing the huge US market, the CPTPP came under pressure to prove its business potential to the world. Thus, expanding the trade pact by including new members will not only open new market opportunities for existing members, but also improve the economic status of the pact.

As such, negotiations between the UK, a major economy, and the CPTPP should be closely watched by other parties for clues as to their criteria for new members and the resulting impact on the structure. of world trade.

Until the CPTPP returns to a similar geopolitical game, a pragmatic approach to expansion is sure to attract more interest from other countries in the future. Fundamentally, how to generate momentum for the CPTPP by advancing the integration of regional economic and trade cooperation is the real issue that member states need to focus on.


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