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UK officially joins trans-Pacific trading block, biggest trade deal since Brexit

The UK has now officially joined the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), according to an official statement on Sunday.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch officially signed the treaty in New Zealand, solidifying the UK's entry into CPTPP, a trade bloc in the Indo-Pacific region with a staggering gross domestic product (GDP) of £12 trillion (nearly $16 trillion).

The government has released new statistics indicating that businesses affiliated with CPTPP employ 1% of the UK workforce, and with membership, further investment in the UK is expected to rise.

Under this agreement, more than 99% of current UK goods exports to CPTPP countries will be eligible for zero tariffs.

Dairy farmers, for example, will benefit from reduced tariffs on cheese and butter exports to Canada, Chile, Japan and Mexico.

"I’m delighted to be here in New Zealand to sign a deal that will be a big boost for British businesses and deliver billions of pounds in additional trade, as well as open up huge opportunities and unparalleled access to a market of over 500 million people," Badenoch said.

"We are using our status as an independent trading nation to join an exciting, growing, forward-looking trade bloc, which will help grow the UK economy and build on the hundreds of thousands of jobs CPTPP-owned businesses already support up and down the country," she added.

The deal is the biggest trade agreement since Brexit.

The UK will be the first European member and first new member since CPTPP was created, "which would have been impossible had we remained in the EU," the government said.

The CPTPP is a free-trade agreement (FTA) between the UK, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan.

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