On 20 January 2021 the UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, announced that the UK intended to formally submit its application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP“).

The CPTPP is a multilateral free trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Discussions have been ongoing between the CPTPP members and the UK on the UK’s potential accession since 17 June 2020. The UK’s membership would be the first accession to the CPTPP since  the treaty entered into force in 2018. Since 2009, trade between the UK and the CPTPP countries has grown on average by 6% every year and was worth over £112bn in 2019.

The UK has already agreed bilateral “trade continuity agreements” with Canada, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Singapore, Vietnam, and a bespoke free trade agreement with Japan.  Membership of the CPTPP would go beyond these existing free trade agreements by offering tariff-free access to Australia, Brunei, Malaysia and New Zealand, and providing for a common framework for trade with all CPTPP members.

A full list of the free trade agreements that the UK has been concluded with non-EU countries, and those that are in progress, can be found here.


Sunny Mann is a Partner and leads the EMEA and UK International Trade team, ranked Tier 1 by Legal 500. His practice includes a focus on national security, foreign investment, export controls and trade sanctions matters. He has worked on a number of foreign investment review cases, including obtaining clearance for a high profile acquisition triggering potential defence and national security concerns, one of the very few cases to go through a full UK statutory review. In the Legal 500, Sunny is ranked as a "Leading Practitioner".


Samantha Mobley is a partner in the EU, Competition & Trade Practice of Baker & McKenzie’s London office and a member of the London office Management Committee. She headed Baker McKenzie’s Global Antitrust and Competition Group, a team of over 300 competition and antitrust specialists worldwide for six years. Samantha has significant experience of advising on the implications of foreign direct investment rules for cross-border transactions. She has advised a number of companies on the implication of the reduced UK national security thresholds, as well as coordinating the global foreign investment review aspects of a proposed $12 billion joint venture between a FTSE100 company and a Fortune 500 corporate. Samantha is a Who’s Who Legal 2020 Leading Individual for Foreign Investment Review.