Andrew Neil dismisses the notion that the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will only contribute 0.08 percent to the country’s GDP, emphasizing that this estimate is based on outdated figures from a 2014 civil service scoping exercise.
Neil contends that these statistics are no longer accurate as economies have experienced significant growth over the past decade.
Taking to Twitter, Neil criticizes the careless use of this statistic by professors, pundits, and polemicists. He points out that the New Zealand/China free trade deal was projected to increase trade fivefold within 11 years but accomplished this feat in just 11 months.
Furthermore, Neil refutes the misleading notion that the agreement is worth £12 trillion, clarifying that it refers to the combined GDP of the participating countries and does not equate to its value for the UK.
However, he highlights the importance of the agreement in further liberalizing trade between the UK and a group of economies with growing shares of global GDP and world trade, in contrast to the declining shares of the EU.
While recognizing the advantages of the CPTPP, Neil believes that the UK should aim for a “far better” trade pact with the EU. He acknowledges that no free trade deal can match the seamless nature of the single market, but suggests that a more favourable agreement could be negotiated in the future.
Neil’s remarks come following Kemi Badenoch’s signing of the UK’s membership to the Indo-Pacific trade bloc in New Zealand. As the first European nation to join since its formation in 2018, the agreement represents the UK’s most significant trade deal since Brexit.
Ratification of the deal by all 12 CPTPP members, including the UK, is expected to occur in the second half of 2024, granting the UK voting membership within the bloc and providing business opportunities.
Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch, attending the signing ceremony, expresses her delight over the deal, highlighting its potential to boost British businesses, generate billions in trade, and provide unparalleled access to a market of over 500 million people.
She emphasizes that joining the forward-looking trade bloc aligns with the UK’s status as an independent trading nation and will contribute to the growth of the UK economy and support numerous jobs.
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