Thornberry’s Trade Deal Confusion Continues

Guido sees Shadow Trade Secretary Emily Thornberry is continuing her record of not understanding her brief – not least the details of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Emily has written a totally nonsensical letter to Liz Truss this week, seeking – among other things – reassurances that Britain joining the CPTPP free trade area won’t mean a trade deal with China via the back door. This is idiotic for a number of reasons:

  1. The point of the CPTPP is to be a bulwark to China’s ambitions in the Asia Pacific
  2. Why would Japan – the lead CPTPP country and a traditional opponent of China – allow China to join?
  3. CPTPP doesn’t allow countries in who break trade rules, such as industrial subsidies, and selling products using forced Labour – i.e. China
  4. Thornberry cites South Korea, who do want China to join, however aren’t members of the CPTPP – unlike Japan, who would veto both countries joining

It’s no secret that Thornberry lacks basic understanding of policy on China. As shadow foreign secretary while running for party leader she was asked about her policies towards the country, replying “I don’t know… I don’t think I’m going to sit here and bullshit you”

It seems she’s now u-turned on her policy of not bullshitting, though isn’t proving hugely competent at it…

Read Thornberry’s letter in full:

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Read in Full: UK Applies to Join CPTPP

As formally announced at the weekend, the UK has today applied to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bloc, consisting of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. A combined GDP of $13.5 trillion, and 495 million people.

In the letter sent by Truss this morning, she writes “to formally request the commencement of negotiations on UK accession to CPTPP”:

“Accession to CPTPP is a priority for the UK government and a key part of our trade negotiations programme as a newly independent trading nation. CPTPP is one of the most important free trade areas in the world and UK accession could see CPTPP’s proportion of global GDP rise to 16%. UK membership would also be the first step in expanding this influential and modern trade network of 11 dynamic economies beyond the Indo-Pacific region and Americas.”

Read the letter in full below:

Read More

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Britain Applying to Join Global Free Trade Area

In a barrage of trade announcements today, the UK has launched FTA negotiations with both Australia and New Zealand. Aussie PM Scot Morrison today said that a deal could be signed and delivered by the end of the year. On top of this, Truss has announced a substantial update to the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership – a free trade area of 11 countries including Canada, Mexico, Chile, Australia, and Japan. DIT has had a lot on its hands…

Since July 2018, the UK has now “engaged with all 11 member countries at both ministerial and official level to explore UK accession to CPTPP” with all CPTPP members having “welcomed the UK’s interest in accession.” It’s looking more and more likely that the UK will join this true global free trade area – which upon accession will have a combined GDP equal to the EU yet without Brussels’ political control. Remainers must be heartbroken in their disappointment…

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Japan Welcomes Brexit Britain’s Bid to Join Massive Global Free Trade Area

Liam Fox is in Tokyo today, visiting another wealthy island nation that does not see the need to enter into political and economic union with its authoritarian continental neighbour.

The International Trade Secretary is meeting Japanese PM Shinzō Abe, after Japan’s Trade Minister “welcomed” Britain’s bid to join the successor to the Trans Pacific Partnership, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday. The massive CPTPP Free Trade Area encompasses Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

This is the kind of Free Trade Area that the UK should be joining, unlike the EU it does not presume to legislate for its members, and nor does it prohibit members from making their own global trade deals.

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