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June 4, 2021

UK to begin accession process to join Trans-Pacific Partnership

On 2 June 2021, the United Kingdom’s (UK) bid to begin the accession process to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) was formally approved by the member countries. The CPTPP is a trade agreement between 11 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The UK submitted its formal request to join the CPTPP on 1 February 2021, following the end of the Brexit transition period.

The UK Government has said that it will continue to work closely with Japan,1 as this year’s chair of the CPTPP commission, as well as with the other CPTPP nations to progress negotiations as quickly as possible. The UK Government has said it will publish its outline approach, scoping assessment and consultation response before negotiations start in the coming weeks.

As background, the UK Government issued a Policy Paper in June 2020 outlining its reasons for seeking to join the CPTPP.2 The UK Government stated that it hopes that CPTPP membership will increase trade and investment opportunities for UK businesses, and thus help the UK economy overcome the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; diversify the UK’s trading links and supply chains; and help to secure the UK’s future place in the world by placing it at the center of a modern, progressive network of free trade agreements with dynamic economies.


For additional information with respect to this Alert, please contact the following:

Ernst & Young LLP (United Kingdom), Indirect Tax



  1. On 23 October 2020, Japan and the UK signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) after having concluded negotiations on 11 September 2020. 
  2. An update on the UK’s position on accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) - GOV.UK (

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