Exactly a year since Brexit, the UK government is eyeing up membership of another trading block.
The UK is to formally ask to join The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – or CPTPP – on Monday (February 1).
Among the eleven countries it already includes are Australia, Canada, Japan and Vietnam.
British trade minister, Liz Truss, will make a formal request to join on Monday when she speaks to her counterparts in Japan and New Zealand.
Negotiations are expected to start later in the year.
The government said joining the trans-Pacific trade group would remove tariffs on food and drink as well as cars, while helping to boost the technology and services sectors.
In a statement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday (January 30), “We are forging new partnerships that will bring enormous economic benefits for the people of Britain.”
Monday marks the first anniversary of Britain formally leaving the European Union – the world’s largest trading block.
Membership of the CPTPP would offer Britain access to economies that represent around 13% of global economic output.
But critics claim that a trade deal with countries thousands of miles away would bring limited economic benefit to the UK.