A trade deal with the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will effectively keep Britain out of the European Union indefinitely, Shanker Singham has said.
British officials have said talks to join the trade partnership were reaching the “end game” stage, with one telling the Financial Times: “The deal is done.”
Britain’s accession to the group will bolster claims by prime minister Rishi Sunak that Brexit has allowed the UK to pursue a new trade strategy, while also enhancing his foreign policy “Asia-Pacific tilt”.
However, the economic gains for Britain are minimal, according to the government’s own projections, and will do little to offset the European trade losses incurred as a result of Brexit.
Writing in The Telegraph, Singham lauded the deal, saying the partnership would be a “huge event for Brexit Britain” and “would not have been possible inside the European Union”.
He also said accession would mean that the UK would not be able to rejoin the EU customs union.
“Since the pact requires that the UK has control over its own regulatory system, dynamic alignment of UK regulations with the EU would also not be feasible, except in those areas where EU regulation passes CPTPP muster.
“There is regulation of many products, for example, that have been challenged by other countries in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – and where WTO cases have been lost.
“Since the Indo-Pacific deal requires more liberalisation in these areas than the WTO (so-called WTO-plus), the UK would not be able to simply follow EU rules as this would bring it into conflict with its new trade partners.”
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