The UK is in talks to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership.


Question; what has the west coast of Canada, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore and Japan have in common?

Answer: they are nowhere near the UK.

Here is something else they have in common, if things go to plan, they will become founder members of the Trans Pacific Partnership – TPP.

Originally, the US was going to be part of TPP, but a certain US president decided he wasn’t too keen on the idea that US was going to be just be part of a club, he rather likes it if the US is the club, so the US pulled out.

At first it seemed like curtains for TPP, but then, with Australia and Japan leading the way, it looked as if the formation of the trading block was back on, although it has hit a hiccup in recent days, with Canada wanting to make changes regarding protection of its car industry.

But now, talk has emerged that Liam Fox, the UK Secretary for International Trade, is developing proposals for the UK to join TPP.

If this happened, TPP would contain three of the G7 nations – Japan, Canada and UK, as well as some of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Columbia, Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia and India and Shri Lanka (which do not border on the Pacific either) have all expressed interest in joining TPP.

If it goes ahead, TPP will indeed emerge as a very powerful trading block – with such clout that China may be forced to abide with certain trading standards set in the region.

But does it really make sense for Blighty, a country that is not exactly near the Pacific to become a member?

And bear this in mind, the UK is a services economy, and services are normally the last thing to become part of a trading block – the much-touted trading agreement between the EU and Canada, for example, does not include services.