Business

British trade chief expresses strong interest in joining TPP

JIJI

Visiting British International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, said that Britain was interested in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement after leaving the European Union.

“We want to orientate Britain to a position where we can take advantage of those growing markets,” Fox said in an interview Wednesday, referring to the Asia-Pacific region. “A lot of those markets will be in Asia-Pacific, which is one of reasons why we have got such interest in the TPP 11.”

Emphasizing the need for understanding the link between the trade and security relationships, he suggested that Britain will aim to enhance its security cooperation with Japan and other nations if it becomes a TPP member.

The TPP was signed in March by Japan and 10 other countries, after the United States withdrew from the pact last year in line with the policy of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Of the 11 countries, Mexico, Japan and Singapore have completed their domestic ratification procedures for the TPP. The pact is expected to take effect in early 2019 at the earliest.

The 11 member countries, which include Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Canada, Chile and Peru, together account for 13 percent of the world economy in terms of gross domestic product. The share will increase to 17 percent if Britain joins the TPP.

Britain would be able to conclude trade pacts with other countries freely after its planned exit from the EU in March 2019.

Still, Fox said Britain has no specific timing for its accession to the TPP in mind as the TPP countries do not yet have a mechanism for accepting new members.