UK begins talks to join Canada among CPTPP ranks

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade bloc consisting of Canada and 10 other countries has opened talks with an unlikely 12th member.

Officials announced Friday that Great Britain and the CPTPP has agreed to open discussions to admit the European country into the trade bloc – which includes free-trade rules but also regulations on labour, environment, intellectual property protection and other more progressive standards on business links within the bloc.

London originally asked to join the CPTPP in February. Great Britain has been looking to strengthen its global trade links since officially pulling out of the European Union at the end of 2020.

Canada is a founding member of the CPTPP and has repeatedly touted the deal as a key measure to diversifying trade beyond the United Statess and China – Canada’s two largest trading partners.

The CPTPP is headlined by Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, as well as a collection of developed and developing markets ranging from Australia, New Zealand and Singapore to Vietnam, Peru and Chile.

There has been a number of other prospective members who have expressed interest to join, including China, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. Incidentally, the United States – the architect of the original bloc – pulled out in 2017 during the first days of the Donald Trump presidency.