The U.K. will join an 11-nation Indo-Pacific free-trade bloc, becoming the first new member since its creation, in a bid to strengthen economic ties with new partners following divorce from the European Union.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government sees membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes Australia, Japan and Canada, as a boost for economic growth and geopolitical relations. The U.K. expects growth of £1.8 billion ($2.23 billion) each year over the long-term, a figure that could rise if other countries join the bloc.

The U.K. also believes membership will give it a role in setting regional trade rules over the coming decades. That could mean the U.K. and other members preventing China’s future accession to the bloc in a move to ensure high trade standards. In a statement, the U.K. said it did not compromise on its environmental and food standards to join the bloc.