UK-Asia trade deal to boost UK economy by 0.08%
The UK has signed a deal to join a trade pact with 11 Asia and Pacific nations, three years after it officially left the European Union.
Joining the group will boost UK exports by cutting tariffs on goods such as cheese, cars, chocolate, machinery, gin and whisky, the government said.
However, the government’s own estimates show being in the bloc will only add 0.08% to the size of the UK’s economy.
The trade area covers a market of around 500 million people.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – or CPTPP – was established in 2018, and includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
Membership of the CPTPP loosens restrictions on trade between members and reduce tariffs – a form of border tax – on goods.
Together, the 11 members account for about 13% of the world’s income and after 21 months of negotiations, the UK has become the first European country to join.
The government said the agreement was the UK’s “biggest trade deal since Brexit”.
However, the gains for the UK from joining are expected to be modest. The UK already has free trade deals with all of the members except Brunei and Malaysia, some of which were rolled over from its previous membership of the EU.
And even with some gains in trading the government only estimates it will add 0.08% to the size of the economy in 10 years. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which provides forecasts for the government, has previously said Brexit would reduce the UK’s potential economic growth by about 4% in the long term.
The UK already had a deal with all these countries, except Brunei and Malaysia, and yet in order to negotiate this ‘triumph’ of joining the CPTPP, marketed as a flagship post-Brexit achievement by the ‘mad as a box of snakes‘ former UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, she agreed to Malaysia’s terms about dropping restrictions on palm oil that which had been imposed under the EU.
This may be considered a big win by little Malaysia, given Britain gets practically nothing out of joining the trade bloc – a projected 0.08% rise of trade over the next ten years, compared to a loss of economic growth of 4% caused by Brexit.
However, those rich traders who plan to now sell their palm oil through the UK without pesky barriers to worry about, such as the EU sustainability rules, will do so at the expense of those poorer Malaysians who are trying to prevent their lands being swallowed up in the last final push to log out all the remaining forests in the country and replace them with this mono-culture.
Huge funds are being poured into greenwash PR to represent those seeking to sell palm oil as humble ‘smallholders’ being penalised by brutal competitive trade barriers imposed by rival oil producers abroad. They aren’t.
Behind this drive are a handful of rapacious logging concerns ready to turn their hand mass cash crop cultivation of imported quick grow monocultures – oil palm/acacia – with only swift dollar returns in mind. More is never enough.
In ten years, according to audits provided by environmental groups who have studied the concessions being handed out, the entire Malaysian landmass will be one dreary factory farm producing a single bio-fuel for export.
Think about what would happen when a blight occurs (which it almost certainly will). The wealthy billionaire families who foisted this disaster on Malaysia will be far away drowning in their riches.
The rest of Malaysia will have to starve just like the Irish did in the dreadful potato famine two hundred years ago. So, not that much of a triumph for Malaysia or mankind but lessons are never learned.