The U.K. will formally request to join an 11-member transpacific trading bloc Monday, with negotiations expected to start later this year.
Since leaving the European Union, Britain has signed bilateral trade agreements of varying depths with seven members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP, including Japan, Vietnam and Singapore.
The U.K. Department for International Trade said it hoped accession to the group would build on these to facilitate easier business travel, eliminate tariffs on British exports such as whisky and cars, and simplify rules of origin so that U.K. manufacturers can use more components made in member states.
As the first nation that was not a founding member of the group to attempt to join it, Britain is “at the front of the queue,” said Liz Truss, secretary for international trade. She plans to speak to Japan’s economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura and Damien O’Connor, New Zealand’s minister for trade and economic growth, by video call Monday.
The international trade department said it would publish an assessment of the economic benefits of CPTPP membership this spring, despite an earlier promise to release it before the application to allow more time for parliamentary scrutiny.
The 11 current members of CPTPP account for about 13% of global gross domestic product, worth $10.6 trillion, according to New Zealand’s government.