UK’s participation in CPTPP and opportunities for Vietnam

The UK’s participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is expected to provide more opportunities for Vietnamese firms to expand export markets and create momentum for economic development.

Illustrative image (Source: Internet)

On July 16, 2023, the UK signed a treaty to join the pact, making it the first new member of the CPTPP since the deal was set up in 2018, paving the way for the admission of more new members.

Together with the British Government’s efforts to take steps in ratifying the pact, CPTPP member countries, including Vietnam, have also worked to complete their own internal legalisation processes.

On June 25, the National Assembly of Vietnam ratified a resolution approving the UK’s accession protocol to the CPTPP.

According to the Multilateral Trade Policy Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the UK is a very important partner of Vietnam, so its participation in the CPTPP will open more export markets for Vietnam.

Besides, during the negotiations between the UK and Vietnam on the participation in the pact, the two sides agreed that the UK will expand market access for Vietnam beyond existing bilateral free trade agreements. Particularly, the fisheries sector will enjoy great advantages when the deal become effective, the department said.

Many large economies such as China have shown their interest in joining the CPTPP, showing the increasing role of the pack, which will create new motivations for businesses and investors to pay more attention to CPTPP members, including Vietnam, a representative from the department held, adding that the UK’s joining of the CPTPP will also promote Vietnam’s exports thanks to the access to a 900-billion-pound (US$1.13 trillion ) market.

British Ambassador to Vietnam Iain Frew said that when the UK becomes a CPTPP member, there will be more spaces for the development of two-way trade. Together with the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), the CPTPP will bring about a lot of benefits for both sides in many areas, especially agriculture, trade, and digital technology.

The diplomat underlined that the UK's accession to CPTPP will bring real benefits to bilateral trade in particular and global trade in general.

Statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed that in the first five months of 2024, trade between Vietnam and the UK increased 23.2 percent, including Vietnam’s exports of nearly US$3 billion , resulting in a trade surplus of US$ 2.7 billion for Vietnam. Currently, the UK is the third largest export market of Vietnam in Europe after the Netherlands and Germany.

After the UK joins the pact, CPTPP members will make up 15 percent of the global GDP, equivalent to 12,000 billion pounds, affirming its position as a strategically important bloc.

Furthermore, the UK has officially recognised that Vietnam is a market economy, which is favourable for the latter in trade defence investigations, especially anti-dumping investigations.

MoIT’s data showed that trade expansion between Vietnam and new CPTPP members has been high.

However, the application rate of certificate of origin (C/O) to implement the CPTPP has been high for a number of products, including equipment, machineries and spare parts with a rise of over 100 percent, proving that businesses have made good use of advantages that the deal brings about, said Pham Quynh Mai, Vice Director of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department.

Noting that CPTPP is a new generation free trade agreement that includes commitments in areas that Vietnam has never committed to before, she said that relevant ministries and sector have issued more than 20 legal documents to realise commitments in the deal.

The MoIT is coordinating with members of the deal to review the pact and consider the possibility of upgrading it, the official added.

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