Britain looks to join Pacific trade deal after Brexit

Trade ministers and delegates from the remaining members of the Trans Pacific Partnership attend the TPP Ministerial Meeting during the APEC 2017 in Da Nang Vietnam

The first is that the remaining 11 members of the TPP have not yet concluded their mandate and the scope of the bloc's trade agreements.

In an attempt to gain new export markets after Brexit, officials have broached the idea of signing up to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

If Britain were to join the deal it would make them the first nation not bordering the Pacific or South China Sea, potentially making the Trans-Pacific Partnership name redundant. The Pacific is 4,500 miles from London.

Liam Fox's Department for International Trade is said to be developing the proposals to join the group which lost its largest member, the U.S., when Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement a year ago.

At the end of a year ago, Britain received the approval of EU member states to move to the second stage of the exit negotiations - those for the UK's trade relationship with the European Union.

Currently, these countries hold an 8% share of British exports, most prominently Japan.

According to European Union law, Britain has no right to conclude new trade agreements before it finally comes out of the European Union in March 2019. "With these kind of plurilateral relationships, there doesn't have to be any geographical restriction".

Nick Dearden, the director of campaign group Global Justice Now, told RT that Britain joining the TPP would mean "giving big business the power to sue our government in special corporate courts ... higher intellectual property provisions to meet the wildest dreams of the big pharmaceutical corporations, and it would mean locking in privatization of public services." .

Analysts have mused that TPP could be a major boost for China, which could fill the vacuum of economic firepower created by US's withdrawal. "It's a great thing for the American worker".

However, Liam Fox's Department for International Trade is said to be developing the proposals to join.

"Quite rightly we are exploring lots of different other avenues of trade arrangement".

"The EU already has trading arrangements with some countries involved, so how does joining TPP fit in with that?"

Tim Farron, the former Liberal Democrat leader, said: "This smacks of desperation. It's all pie in the sky thinking".

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