Sunak speaks to Jacinda Adern’s about joining £9trn trade bloc

Following Ms Adern’s shock resignation, Rishi Sunak has reached out to the new Prime Minister of New Zealand. The Prime Minister congratulated the 44-year-old in his new position and said he looked forward to working together.

According to Downing Street, the pair also spoke about Britain joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in the “near future”.

The free trade bloc CPTPP has a combined GDP of £9trillion and UK joining would take the trade bloc’s GDP to £11trillion, Downing Street has said.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister spoke to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Chris Hipkins, this evening.

“The Prime Minister congratulated Prime Minister Hipkins on his new role as leader of New Zealand and said he looked forward to working closely with him.

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“Discussing Cyclone Gabrielle, which has hit the country in recent hours, the Prime Minister said that the UK stood by to support in any way possible and his sympathies were with all those affected.”

The spokeswoman added that the two nation leaders also spoke about the ongoing war in Ukraine.

She continued: “Updating on his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy last week, the Prime Minister paid tribute to New Zealand’s support for Ukraine, including the important role the country was playing in training Ukrainian soldiers in the UK.

“Both leaders agreed that the continued international solidarity in support of Ukraine sent a strong message to aggressors across the world.

“The Prime Minister said he looked forward to the UK joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a free trade bloc with a combined GDP of £9trillion, in the near future, and added that he saw it as a chance to bring like-minded countries together.

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“The leaders hoped to meet in person soon.”

This comes after Trade Minister Greg Hands visited Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore for high-level trade talks and to promote the UK’s accession to the CPTPP at the beginning of this month.

Minister of State for Trade Policy Greg Hands said: “Joining CPTPP will add even more economic clout to this exciting and dynamic trade alliance, helping it grow to £11 trillion or from 12 to 15 percent of global GDP.

“This visit will also strengthen our bilateral trade relations with Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore – which total £32bn.

“These fast-growing economies represent huge opportunities for our life sciences and technology sectors.”

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