It has been announced that the UK will join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trade bloc with countries predominantly located on the other side of the world.
The news has increased concerns that the UK will come under increased pressure to align with the lower food standards and environmental protections of the bloc and make it more difficult for businesses to trade with the much closer EU market where standards are higher.
It has already been reported that the UK is preparing to remove tariffs on palm oil as the price for joining the CPTPP. Palm oil is a major driver of deforestation threatening endangered animals like orangutans.
It has also been highlighted that due to the increased costs and logistics involved in trading with countries so far away, joining the CPTPP is unlikely to compensate for the vast amount of trade lost between the UK and the EU after Brexit.
Naomi Smith, Chief Executive of Best for Britain said,
“The irony of this Vote Leave government boasting about joining a new trade bloc will not be lost on the millions of people and thousands of businesses dealing with the fallout of their botched Brexit deal.
“Contrary to what the Prime Minister may say, the vast distance involved means this is unlikely to be an economic gamechanger and the painful difference is that unlike EU membership, where we worked to raise standards, pressure from CPTPP members is more likely to result in the UK having lower food standards and environmental protections, as is already being reported in relation to palm oil.”