PARTIES to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) have agreed to admit the UK as its first new member.

The 11 CPTPP parties and the UK signed an accession protocol at the seventh meeting of the CPTPP Ministerial Commission in Auckland NZ on Sunday (16 July).

In a statement from the minister for trade and tourism Don Farrell, he welcomed the UK as a new member of the CPTPP, saying the development builds on the foundations of the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force on 31 May.

The CPTPP is a comprehensive trade deal; it eliminates 98% of tariffs in a trade zone representing a combined GDP of $11.8 trillion and a population of more than 500 million people.

An accession working group, established in mid-2021 to progress the terms and conditions for the UK’s accession, presented the accession protocol and accompanying accession working group report that was approved by consensus on Sunday by the Ministerial Commission.

The commission agreed the UK was able to demonstrate it can meet, implement and adhere to the rules and standards of the agreement and possessed a track record of complying with trade commitments.

CPTPP members will now complete their domestic processes to bring the accession protocol into force. The CPTPP’s original members are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Mr Farrell said the accession of the UK to the CPTPP is a major milestone, as it expands the trade partnership beyond the Pacific Rim.

“Australia is strongly committed to ensuring the CPTPP continues as a high-calibre trade framework – a key element to maintaining this high standard is a robust accession process,” he said.

assistant minister for trade Tim Ayres said: “The United Kingdom’s accession to the CPTPP is a welcome step that will enhance engagement in the region and expand trade and investment opportunities.”

“Maintaining the high-quality agreement supports Australia’s interests in working with partners to realise an open, inclusive and prosperous region where the rules-based global trading system is respected.”