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UK takes first step to join Pacific trading bloc – POLITICO

LONDON — British Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan will tour three Asian countries next week after Britain cleared a crucial hurdle to join an 11-nation trading bloc.

It was confirmed last night that the UK has passed the first stage of the process of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, meaning its comprehensive approach to trade has been approved.

This means that London moves on to the second and final phase of the process, the actual market access negotiations for the trade group.

“The CPTPP is one of the largest and most exciting free trade clubs in the world,” Trevelyan said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is a major milestone for us in this dynamic group of economies and means the finish line is in sight.”

She will travel next week to Indonesia, Japan and Singapore to oversee the launch of the negotiation process.

The Commerce Department says CPTPP membership is worth some £8.4trillion to the UK’s wealth. Britain hopes to join before the end of 2022 as part of its broader foreign policy agenda to deepen ties with the Asia-Pacific region.

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