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Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership

Volume 735: debated on Thursday 29 June 2023

6. What steps her Department is taking to ensure that the UK’s accession to the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership increases economic opportunities for businesses and consumers. (905686)

The CPTPP will be benefiting every nation and region of our country. In particular, UK firms will enjoy enhanced access to Malaysia for the first time, including a reduction on tariffs on whisky sales to Malaysia of 80% within 10 years, improving prospects for trade and opening up opportunities in an economy worth £330 billion.

We should all congratulate the Secretary of State and her team on concluding the CPTPP negotiations, and it should be ratified any time now in New Zealand. Of course the most important new element of the trans-Pacific partnership is this first ever free trade agreement with our long-term friend and ally, Malaysia. Whether in cars, cyber, chocolates, vaccines or legal and other services, the opportunities for British exporters are considerable and, of course, the dividends from our investment there, such as the new Smith & Nephew plant, will also help our balance of payments. Does my right hon. Friend therefore agree that there is a great opportunity for us and Malaysia to work together on spreading the word, through our regional offices, the UK-ASEAN Business Council and every other means possible, to make sure that businesses in both countries are absolutely aware of the opportunities that the deal offers?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. He will be pleased to know that Ministers in the Department met their counterpart, the Malaysian export Minister, this very week. A lot is going on between our two countries. The Department works closely with the UK-ASEAN Business Council, and our first bilateral joint economic trade committee with Malaysia is expected later this year. It will help promote the bilateral trade and investment and economic co-operation that he rightly champions as the trade envoy to that country. He will know that I will be signing the CPTPP agreement next month in New Zealand.

Clearly, it is vital that British businesses that want to export can access the benefits of trade deals. However, the Government admitted to me in a written answer that they have not modelled the benefits of the CPTPP for our hard-pressed manufacturing businesses, so will the Minister tell me how many UK manufacturers will benefit from the rules of origin requirements under the CPTPP?

The hon. Lady will know that we do not count the number of companies specifically in our modelling. The modelling happens at a very high level—it is macro-level modelling. What she should know is that rules of origin will benefit people who export to that region, particularly auto manufacturers, who are very pleased about the deal.