File photograph of Japan's Economic Revitalization Minister Shigeyuki Goto in Tokyo, Japan, 04 October 2021. EFE-EPA FILE/FRANCK ROBICHON

Trans-Pacific trade bloc accepts Britain as member

Tokyo, Mar 31 (EFE).- The member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, also known as TPP-11) agreed Friday to accept the United Kingdom as a member, the Japanese government said.

Japan’s Economic Revitalization Minister Shigeyuki Goto confirmed Britain’s membership to the trade pact at a press conference after the ministerial meeting and said it would “promote free trade and open competitive markets beyond the Pacific Rim,” public broadcaster NHK reported.

The 11 member countries agreed to accept the UK’s application to join the trade pact during an online meeting.

The formal approval will be done during a ministerial meeting scheduled to be held between July 15 and 16.

This marks the first expansion of the treaty beyond its founding members.

In a statement released Friday, the TPP’s Accession Working Group said that Britain has provided “commercially meaningful market access offers of the highest standard on goods, services, investment, financial services, government procurement, state-owned enterprises and temporary entry for business persons.”

The CPTPP, which came into force in 2018, includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The United States was also included initially but former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact in 2017.

The United Kingdom began the process to join the treaty in 2021, one of its key trade strategies after leaving the European Union.

It is the first non-Pacific country to apply for TPP’s membership.

China, Taiwan and Uruguay have also started the process of joining the agreement, whose trade area covers a market of almost 500 million people.

With a 13 percent share of the global GDP, it is one of the largest free trade agreements in the world.

With Britain joining the pact, this share will expand to more than 15 percent. EFE