Skip to main content

Effective implementation of CPTPP required says Lords Committee

Tuesday 27 February 2024

The accession of the UK to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) could be of strategic importance - but effective implementation of the agreement will be key to maximising any potential benefits for British businesses, according to the House of Lords International Agreements Committee.

In its report, published today, the committee reports the Accession Protocol of the United Kingdom to the CPTPP – a free trade agreement between 12 countries upon the UK’s accession, which will account for 15% of global GDP - to the House for special attention and debate.

The committee notes that the economic gains of accession are limited, though accession does offer new market access to Malaysia and Brunei. The committee has expressed concern about the extent to which businesses in general, and SMEs in particular, will be able to take advantage of the new provisions in CPTPP. This is due in part to the considerable geographical distance between the UK and other CPTPP member countries, presenting British businesses with challenges not faced by other CPTPP countries – particularly in using the new rules of origin provisions in the agreement.

The report finds that the Government has failed to provide trading businesses with easily accessible online information and guidance on utilising trade agreements. The committee calls on the Government to work quickly with business to improve and clarify the online guidance and advice on all trade agreements, including CPTPP.

Secondly, the committee acknowledges potential strategic advantages of greater engagement in the region afforded via CPTPP membership – but notes that the primary function of CPTPP is as a trade agreement. The Integrated Review and Integrated Review Refresh lack detail as to how the Government intends to utilise CPTPP as an important economic and trade strand of its Indo-Pacific ‘tilt’ strategy. The report recognises some value in using CPTPP as a forum for cooperation with like-minded countries to discuss shared challenges in international trade. However, against the backdrop of a more protectionist global trade environment, the utility of CPTPP as a rallying point is likely to be limited, the committee suggests. It calls on the Government to provide further detail on how it expects membership of CPTPP to contribute to the delivery of its strategic aims in the region.

Lastly, the committee welcomes the current consultation on the forthcoming ‘General Review’ of CPTPP, which takes place among all members this year. It calls on the Government to set out and publish its priorities for the review, and for a longer-term plan for the development of CPTPP.

Lord Goldsmith, Chair of the International Agreements Committee said:

“As of July 2023 the UK is the twelfth country to join and the second largest economy after Japan. For the UK, CPTPP is more than a trade agreement. It also forms a part of the Government strategy to deepen its engagement with the Indo-Pacific region.

“If the potential economic benefits are to reach beyond the current marginal predictions for growth, the Government needs to engage proactively with UK businesses in an ongoing dialogue. We have recommended a task force to build the overall capacity of UK businesses to use CPTPP.

“Furthermore, an expanded membership of CPTPP could open up new markets for UK goods and services. We call on the Government to explain in their response to this report what impact they expect future accessions to have on the ability of the CPTPP to innovate and modernise.

“We welcome the improvements made in consultation with the devolved nations, and reiterate our call for the Government to continue to provide detailed, timely, transparent and comprehensive engagement to ensure that the views of devolved administrations are clearly represented throughout negotiations.”

The full report is available on the committee’s website.

Lords press office

Subscribe to Lords newsletter

Sign up for the House of Lords newsletter for the latest news, debates and business.

Subscribe now

Lords Enquiry Service and FAQs

House of Lords FAQs

The Lords Enquiry Service provides information on the role, work and membership of the House of Lords.

  • Telephone: 0800 223 0855 (Freephone) or 020 7219 3107
  • Email:
  • Text Relay: 18001 7219 3107

The telephone enquiry service is open from 10am - 5pm Monday to Thursday, and 10am - 4pm on Fridays. During recess, the hours are 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 4pm Monday to Friday.