Economic analysis suggests that a UK-Asia trade deal could increase the UK economy
The United Kingdom has signed a trade pact with 11 Asia and Pacific nations three years after leaving the European Union.
The UK government said that joining the group would boost exports by cutting tariffs on goods such as cheese, cars, chocolate and whisky.
However, the British government's own estimates show that the economic benefits of being in the European Union will be minimal.
The company's trade area covers a market of 500 million consumers.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership - or CPTPP - was established in 2018 by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore.
The CPTPP is a free trade agreement that reduces tariffs on goods traded between member countries.
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 Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The government said the agreement was a significant step in its post-Brexit trade plans.
The UK is expected to gain modestly from joining the CPTPP. 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.
The government has estimated that leaving the EU will only add 0.08% to the UK's 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.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the deal demonstrates how post-Brexit freedoms are boosting the British economy.
The UK is now in a prime position in the global economy to seize opportunities for new jobs, growth and innovation thanks to CPTPP, according to Rishi Sunak.
Businesses in the UK will now have access to markets in Europe and the Pacific.
Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch described the agreement as "buying a start-up."
This is not a substitute for trade with the EU, but it is additional to that. We are still in a free-trade agreement with the EU.
She said, "You wouldn't buy a small company like that and expect it to be delivering on the day," adding that in seven years "40% of the world's middle class is going to come from that region."
Badenoch said the deal would create new markets for UK farmers, denying that there would be any negative impact on agriculture.
Labour's shadow international trade secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds welcomed the UK's decision to join the CPTPP, but said there are still outstanding concerns about consumer safety, food safety, data protection and environmental protections.
The government said that one benefit of membership in the bloc was that UK firms would not have to establish local offices or be resident in order to supply a service, meaning they would be on a par with local companies.
According to the government, one benefit of membership in the bloc was that UK firms would not have to establish local offices or be resident in order to supply a service.