Britain interested in joining Trans-Pacific trade deal after Brexit: FT

David Cameron invited President Xi Jinping for a state visit in 2015 personally entertaining him near the PM's country estate at Chequers

David Cameron invited President Xi Jinping for a state visit in 2015 personally entertaining him near the PM's country estate at Chequers

But the remaining 11 members - Canada, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam - have pressed on and are working towards ratifying an agreement which does not include the US.

In an attempt to gain new export markets after Brexit, officials have broached the idea of signing up to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Britain would be the first member of the bloc without a coast on the Pacific Ocean or the South China Sea. The Pacific is 4,500 miles from London. The US withdrew from the group previous year under orders from President Donald Trump, who often rallied against worldwide trade deals in his election campaign.

In November, ministers from the 11 member nations agreed to a framework for the deal and said they'd come to terms on the substance of the agreement but still had work to do on the details. Currently, members of the TPP account for about 8% of British exports.

According to European Union law, Britain has no right to conclude new trade agreements before it finally comes out of the European Union in March 2019.

Trump withdrew from the agreement a year ago, saying: "We've been talking about [withdrawal] for a long time".

"With these kinds of plurilateral relationships, there doesn't have to be any geographical restriction", he said.

Abandoning TPP was one of Donald Trump's first acts as United States president, after he claimed during his election campaign that such deals were responsible for job losses and anger in America's industrial heartland. "It's a great thing for the American worker".

In a column for conservative website Conservative Home, the secretary of state for global trade argued that perceptions of Brexit in Britain are at odds with what he is seeing overseas and that it presents a new opportunity for British trade and investment.

"That guaranteed income should provide time for farmers to change their business model if necessary, help to make the investment necessary for any adjustments and prepare for the future", Gove told a farming conference in Oxford. "But, on the other hand, we would be foolish to rule anything out".

Tim Farron, the former Liberal Democrat leader, said: "This plan smacks of desperation. It's all pie in sky thinking".

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