Introduction to the CPTPP

In this report we examine the potential impact of accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on UK agriculture.

In conjunction with Harper Adams University, we:

  • Model the impact on key agricultural sectors to examine the effect on imports, exports and prices
  • Present an overview of current and future trade, production and demand in CPTPP countries
  • Determine current opportunities for UK producers
  • Examine the potential if CPTPP continues to expand

The CPTPP is a free trade agreement signed in 2018 between 11 countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam. It came into force on 30 December 2018 for the first six, and subsequently for Vietnam and Peru. The remaining countries are still completing their ratification processes.

On 1 February 2021, the UK formally requested to join the CPTPP. Negotiations started in June 2021 and it is expected the UK’s request will be agreed in 2023.

Joining the CPTPP will improve access and reduce trade barriers between the UK and the current members. It forms part of the UK Government’s stated ambition to become a ‘great trading nation’ by expanding the number of potential trade partners and increasing opportunities for UK exporters.

As a sizeable trading bloc – CPTPP countries represented 13% of global gross domestic product (GDP) according to the World Bank – it represents a significant opportunity if the terms of accession are favourable and member countries’ agricultural markets are more easily accessed by UK exporters.

The most recent UK government data suggested that, in 2020, the 11 CPTPP countries were the destination of 8.4% of UK exports of goods and services combined.

The Government’s International Agreements Committee report includes a summary of the Government's modelling of the economic impact of accession. It said that the estimated long-term increase in UK GDP was 0.08%.

The committee agreed that membership was not expected to bring “large-scale” economic benefits in the short term. However, it reported larger gains would be available if CPTPP membership subsequently expanded to include Thailand and South Korea – seen as a gateway to improved access to the important East Asia market.