Britain’s new trade deal is about more than GDP

With the announcement this week confirming the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the British government has concluded its most important trade agreement since leaving the EU. It is joining a modern free trade area (FTA) comprising 11 Pacific Rim countries located in the most dynamic part of the world, measured by GDP growth, and accounting for about 11 per cent of world output. Or just over 14 per cent with the UK included. Curiously though, the trade and economic benefits which the UK might derive are likely to be pretty meagre. The real story in the UK’s additional tilt into Asia is potentially