UK Accession to CPTPP

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons am 2:13 pm ar 22 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Party Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) 2:13, 22 Chwefror 2024

I welcome Liam Byrne and his report. I think that this is the first time that I have had an interaction with him since my return to the Department and since he became the Chair of the Select Committee. Of course, as two former Chief Secretaries to the Treasury, we are well used to a bit of sparring over the years. His report is good, strong and constructive, and he makes some strong points about FTAs being, of course, choices. I welcome his statement that CPTPP has been well scrutinised in this House.

I do not intend to give an answer to any general questions raised, because it is not me who is being asked. However, I point out to Richard Foord that the National Farmers Union does welcome the UK joining CPTPP. I say to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill that a new FTA implementation unit in the Department for Business and Trade is looking at the important point he raised about how, post-signature, we ensure that the agreements work for British businesses and British consumers. On investor-state dispute settlement, nothing prevents a right to regulate in this country and it can be of benefit to British businesses overseas, guaranteeing jobs at home.

My only question for the right hon. Gentleman is really just a clarification. He says that CPTPP represents 15% of the Indo-Pacific area, which I think is true in the sense that China and India are not in CPTPP, and that therefore it is quite a small economic bloc. But if I can just take issue with him, CPTPP is currently about 12% of global GDP and the UK joining would make that 15%. So he is not wrong in what he says, but if he could just acknowledge that the part of global GDP in CPTPP is also 15%, not just a portion of the Indo-Pacific trade.