The UK logistics sector is positive about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal

The UK freight and logistics sector has welcomed the news that Britain has joined the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade deal, although they say it will not be a “game changer”.

The CPTPP covers 500 million people in Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam and will reduce tariffs on a wide range of goods.

It is estimated that accession will boost the UK economy by £1.8 billion, although this only accounts for around 0.08% of the UK economy.

The trade deal took 21 months to negotiate and is the UK’s largest trade deal since Brexit.

Atul Bhakta, CEO of One World Express, said: “Britain has been crying out for big trade deals for two years. This was promised after Brexit, but it has taken a long time to secure meaningful trade deals, either with major world powers or sizable trading blocs.

“Now we have to be realistic about how significant this particular deal will be. After all, the government itself is forecasting an economic boost of £1.8bn; in other words, increase its size by less than 0.1%. It’s clearly not a game changer, and critics will no doubt be quick to jump on it.

“Nevertheless, this trade deal should not be scoffed at as it opens up access to a market of 500 million people where many goods are duty-free. The UK is the first European nation to join the CPTPP.

“It will no doubt open up new opportunities for UK companies to export globally and anything that reduces red tape and helps the export market should be celebrated. It may not be a landmark deal for the UK, but it is one that should be welcomed nonetheless – it is an important step in establishing the UK as a post-Brexit trading power.”

Kate Jennings, Logistics UK’s director of policy, also felt the trade deal could bring “little benefits” in the short term.

However, she added: “The access to innovation and increased productivity that the deal will bring in the longer term will benefit the overall health of the UK economy. As a nation with longstanding and excellent trading links worldwide, UK PLC is poised to capitalize on the opportunities the new agreement will bring thanks to the country’s connected supply chain.

“The success of the agreement will be based on improved access to high-growth markets, including simplification of customs procedures and future opportunities to digitize the movement of goods to speed up connections between the UK and the 11 participating nations.”

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