Negotiators announced on Thursday that the UK will be joining the CPTPP, or Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Membership of the CPTTP will increase Britain’s influence in the region and open up a range of diverse new markets for British exporters.
Adding the Atlantic
CPTPP membership is desirable for several reasons. With Chinese threats against Taiwan growing louder, more UK involvement in the region is welcome. Secondly, the CPTPP will enable the UK to have a significant say in how the bloc sets standards, particularly important given its growing size.
Finally, membership will boost British exports in the long term. As Catherine McBride explores for Briefings below, the deal will yield benefits much greater than the 0.08% benefit to GDP/decade that naysayers have touted – especially when compared to realistic (vs inflated) estimates of the benefit of EU membership to UK growth.
CPTPP membership will also make fully rejoining the EU, or even dynamic regulatory alignment, harder. The cumulative gains from Free Trade Agreements, not paying into the EU, avoiding Eurozone crises and EU regulations are beginning to add up.
In unrelated good news, sterling has been the strongest-performing currency among the G10 group of economies so far this year. His Majesty Charles III has also been well received on his first state visit abroad to Germany.
Having a right royal laugh with the Bundestag
In international news, ex-President Donald Trump has become the first former US President to be indicted for a criminal offence. The UN has adopted a resolution that will enable the International Court of Justice to prepare an advisory legal opinion on countries’ climate obligations that could be cited in international litigation. Finally, Italy’s data protection authority banned popular chatbot Chat GPT over concerns that it breaches EU data protection law.
Co-editor Robert Tombs published a piece in the Daily Telegraph on the news of British accession to the CPTP – read it here.
Some of our analysis of the Windsor Framework amendments to the Northern Ireland Protocol seems to have made it into politicians’ speeches – see the linked.
CPTPP MythBusters, by Catherine McBride
There are many myths about the CPTPP circulating on the internet and some have even been repeated in mainstream media. They are not true, as I explain below. They are just easy soundbites from the pro-EU Twitterati and lazy journalists. The CPTPP is an unadulterated free trade agreement between its members. It is everything that the WTO was meant to be and precisely what the British population were told the ECC would be when they joined in 1973 – only to be profoundly disappointed.
“While many UK farming organisations may fear competition from Australia, New Zealand and even Canada, they have had to cope with massive heavily subsidised competition from EU countries for 50 years. The EU would very much like this unsatisfactory state of affairs to continue, even after Brexit. It is no surprise that the EU’s Twitter brigade are the biggest critics of the CPTPP.”
Brexit is now Irreversible!, by Briefings for Britain
The UK’s accession to the giant Asian trading bloc CPTPP is an economic and political triumph. Belonging to this bloc – larger, much faster growing and more liberal in trade policy than the EU – is incompatible with EU membership. No future UK government could realistically attempt to leave the CPTPP and re-join the EU. Brexit is therefore now effectively irreversible. This breakthrough reinforces the view that UK economic prospects are brighter than commonly perceived.
“In contrast to the EU, which forces its members and trading partners to have the same regulatory standards, the CPTPP relies on mutual recognition, equivalence and adequacy of standards. This is a much more advanced and liberalising approach than that of the EU.”
A Bright Gleam…?, by Adrian Hill
Brighter news from San Diego heralding the Aukus submarine project is slightly dulled by the rather leisurely time table proposed. One understands there’s a lot to be done, starting with clearing up our nuclear waste, but if we amble, we swing a searchlight on a window of opportunity for a tall overweight Chinese gent with ambitions for global gluttony. That aside, the plan proposes exactly what people like me have been urging since decades –to triple our nuclear attack submarine force.
“AUKUS is our first step towards building a global alliance of democracies from a core of the Five Eyes Intelligence sharing partners.”
Aliens caused Brexit (and faked JFK’s Moon Landing)
Readers will remember the plethora of conspiracy theories surrounding Brexit – that the referendum was stolen by Russia, that the Vote Leave campaign massively violated electoral funding laws, that Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson supported Brexit so they or their confederates could profit from currency fluctuations, etc etc.
What really happened
We suggest you read this fascinating piece about Centrist and Left-of-Centre conspiracies by Christopher J. Snowdon from the Institute of Economic Affairs. Partly, it’s a good reminder of the various weird narratives that segments of centrist and Left-leaning elites have espoused over the years, that are often quietly forgotten after they are shown to be absurd.
He makes two fundamental points about conspiracies. Firstly, borrowing from David Aaronovitch, that conspiracies are espoused by those on the losing side of a political battle. Among those of lower social standing, they also provide a sense of superiority – you are bravely spreading hidden knowledge about the way the world works, and your naysayers are either ignorant or liars.
In present political conditions conspiracies appeal to some centrists because they explain defeat. Success is an explicit promise of the end-of-history Liberal model as espoused by Francis Fukuyama. Failure therefore demands explanation and creates doubt in the ideology’s efficacy. Blaming failure on conspiracy can postpone these gnawing worries.
The wrong End of History
Secondly, the labelling of conspiracies partly depends on social power. Respectable people can propose that “the Tories are planning to privatise the NHS”, or “Russia caused Brexit”, with at-best threadbare evidence, and not be ostracised as conspiracy theorists.
This isn’t limited to left-wing conspiracies – there are respectable right-wing equivalents. And this isn’t a call to dismiss every eyebrow-raising claim by one’s political adversaries as conspiracy. But it shows that we need to think carefully about how we label conspiracies and how we respond to others’ labelling.
We are also on Twitter, posting articles and retweeting the daily events that bring Brexit to the fore in the national news.
Discussion also continues over on Facebook.
How you can help
There is much about Britain’s relationship with Europe that remains to be decided. Our MPs listen to their constituents. Do continue to send them links to our articles, especially on matters relevant to your constituency. Alternatively, make an appointment to speak to them at their next surgery. Let them know what you want post-Brexit Britain to look like.
Yet it is also time for unity and reconciliation. Keep reading our posts and share links to our quality content to help others understand how leaving the EU has benefited the UK economy and democratic governance. We aim to educate our critics to think differently and more positively about the long-term impact of Brexit.
A trainee barrister
Economist, Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School University of Cambridge
Emeritus Professor of French History, University of Cambridge