CPTPP: Five benefits for UK food and drink manufacturers

17 April 2023

On 31 March 2023, the UK government announced it had reached an agreement in principle to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – better known as CPTPP – a trade bloc that spans 11 countries in the Indo-Pacific region, which is set to grow beyond the UK’s accession.


The agreement includes 30 chapters that cover a range of areas including market access for goods, customs administration, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, labour, environment, SMEs and regulatory coherence. The deal upholds the UK’s high food safety and animal welfare standards and any imports will continue to comply with existing UK requirements.

We have identified five key benefits for UK food and drink manufacturers:

  1. It delivers new opportunities to export to Malaysia and Brunei

    UK manufacturers will benefit from new opportunities to export to Malaysia and Brunei with the removal of tariffs that have until now blocked our exports. This includes the complete removal on entry into force of Malaysian tariffs of up to 20% on many manufactured products including soft drinks, confectionery and chocolate.
  2. It makes exports to the other nine CPTPP members more competitive

    While the UK already has FTAs with the other nine members, CPTPP offers a range of new and improved opportunities in most of these markets. This includes access to a tariff-free cheese export quota in Canada, additional access for dairy and cereals in Japan and the removal of tariffs on chocolate and confectionery to Mexico.
  3. It secures improved access to essential imports that enhance our resilience

    While we haven’t yet seen the full details of the UK’s agreement on import tariffs, we know that the deal will cut tariffs on a wide range of products, providing more competitive access for UK importers to many ingredients and raw materials used in UK manufacturing that either aren’t produced domestically or not in sufficient quantities.
  4. It provides more flexibility for manufacturers to access tariff-free trade

    Rules of origin are the terms and conditions that dictate if a trader is able to access a preferential tariff in a trade agreement. CPTPP includes a single set of rules that will offer an alternative for businesses to those in the nine existing FTAs and this can help to unlock additional opportunities for UK exporters. The rules of origin also allow full cumulation, supporting production of goods that use inputs sourced from across the trade bloc.
  5. It speeds up trade in short shelf life food and drink products

    Businesses that trade in limited shelf life products will benefit from a commitment from all CPTPP member states to ensure goods will be released within 48 hours of arrival wherever possible. It also includes a commitment to move to the use of electronic systems for customs users that can help to cut bureaucracy and the cost of trade.

The FDF's head of international trade Dominic Goudie said: 

“We welcome news that the UK has concluded an agreement to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which will deliver exciting opportunities to enhance our trade with the world’s most dynamic economies.

“We hope analysis of the terms will identify specific import and export opportunities that will boost UK food manufacturing and enhance the resilience of our industry’s supply chains. Given our unique footprint in every nation and region, we look forward to working with the UK and devolved governments to ensure this agreement delivers benefits for communities across the UK.”