BOOSTING INVESTMENT FLOW
Among the priorities are ensuring that British businesses and those throughout the region can reap the benefits of CPTPP to increase trade and investment, Ms Owen told CNA938.
On whether entering the trade pact will help boost the UK’s investments in Singapore, Ms Owen said the investment flow is already really strong in both directions.
“With CPTPP, I only expect that to grow. The UK has made a really concerted effort to invest more within the Indo Pacific,” she added.
“So the level of understanding and interest within our companies in the UK of what the opportunities are within Singapore, within the Southeast Asia region, and within the broader Indo Pacific is only growing.”
CPTPP membership will supplement existing bilateral FTAs Britain has with most of the member countries, and gives businesses extra options over the terms they can trade under.
“There are some countries, Malaysia for example, where this will be the first time that we’ll be having tariff-free access to each other’s economies,” said Ms Owen.
“So that will give a country like Malaysia access to our economy and it will give British companies access to Malaysia’s economy. The benefits go across many sectors.”
Before signing the deal, lawyers will be going through the formal paperwork, said Ms Black.
“There’s a parliamentary process that we will also need to kick off,” she added.
“So the negotiating teams have been locked away, working extremely hard, and now we enter the formal signing and then ratification process of a trade deal.”
Recognising the enthusiasm of other economies in joining the trade pact, Ms Black said: “The fact that there are so many economies interested in joining, which I think only supports our strategy and why we’ve worked so hard to join this deal. And it is tough to join.”
Trade negotiators have worked hard over the past two years to seal the deal, she added.
“We’ve worked across multiple time zones, multiple teams to make sure that we met the expectations of existing members. We’ve done that now and we’re very proud of the strength of the UK economy and our ability to do that.”