Meat in the CPTPP sandwich

Nick Allen writes about the potential ramifications for the UK meat industry as a result of the trade agreements within the CPTPP.

The UK Government has concluded negotiations on the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a free trade agreement (FTA) including eleven members: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. It has yet to be ratified by all parliaments involved so there remains a process to undertake. But what will this new agreement mean for the British meat industry?

Proponents of the CPTPP would say that it is a trade bloc that is populated by around half a billion people with a joint gross domestic product (GDP) of £9 trillion in 2021. The combined GDP of the 11 CPTPP members and the UK was worth around £11 trillion in 2021. , trade between UK and CPTPP was worth £110.9 billion, representing approximately 6.8 percent of total UK trade. UK exports to CPTPP countries were worth £60.5 billion over the same period.1

Is the CPTPP necessary?

Those sceptical of the agreement would point out that the UK already had bilateral trade agreements with all countries in the CPTPP bar Brunei and Malaysia, some of which had been carried over from its EU membership. Indeed, the UK Government’s own estimate says the reduced red tape and improved market access would only boost GDP by £1.8 billion or 0.8 percent over 10 years.