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Brexit Weekly Digest - 4 June

This week this UK opens membership talks with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Edwin Poots fears the Northern Ireland peace process is being damaged, and we share the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce June events running to support your business post-Brexit.

UK begins process to join Asia-Pacific trade bloc

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bloc has agreed to open accession talks with the UK (BBC News). The British government formally requested to join in February this year, hoping that a membership would open more opportunity for trade in the Asian Pacific market.

The TPP is a trade agreement signed in 2016 comprising 12 members: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States. The bloc was responsible for 40% of world trade, however, Donald Trump withdrew the US signature in 2017. This caused the remaining 11 members to negotiate a new trade agreement called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP).

The CPTTP allows liberalisation of tariffs among the participants, meaning the UK would gain free trade market access to the other 11 countries around the Pacific Rim. There are other rights and obligations under the CPTPP, including rules on food safety regulations, rules of origin, and data transfer.

Now the UK’s request to join has been progressed, the CPTPP Commission has formed a ‘working group’. The UK will now have to submit to the working group its market access offers and begin the negotiation process. Once all existing members are satisfied, the UK will be accepted as a member.


Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce: June Events

The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) is hosting various online events in June as part of their commitment to support businesses in Greater Manchester to navigate their international trade journey:


Poots: European Union treating NI as a political plaything

Edwin Poots, leader of the DUP, and Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice-President, recently spoke on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show about the Northern Ireland protocol. In the interview, Poots claimed the EU was “seeking to punish the UK and, as a consequence, Northern Ireland is being used as a plaything”.

Poot’s fears of the peace process being damaged were strongly denied by Šefčovič, who expressed “total commitment to the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement” from the EU. He also added that he wants to meet with Northern Ireland Executive parties soon, to discuss with them “what we can do better”.

Mr Šefčovič had also suggested in the interview that a temporary Swiss-style veterinary agreement would be a solution for the UK, removing 80% of Great Britain/Northern Ireland border checks. This proposal was rejected by both Lord Frost and Mr Poots, as the agreement would call for the UK to continue following all EU agrifood rules. Mr Poots said “That struck me as a temporary solution. I want permanent solutions to take the barriers away and provide security in terms of the single market".

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