SPECIAL FEATURE : THE FUTURE OF TRADE
HOW THE UK GOVERNMENT IS CHAMPIONING FREE TRADE
How the UK Government is Championing Free Trade
All of us at the High Commission are conscious of what a difficult time it has been for the British community in Singapore over the last 18 months . And we are impressed by the enormous resilience you have shown .
I know that most of you will have planned for family reunions and holidays first over Christmas , and then again during the summer . Many of you will have had to revise your plans yet again , and we don ’ t know at this point when travel restrictions will finally be lifted .
Both the High Commissioner and I continue to engage with the Singapore Government to explore options for the return of safe travel . The recent easing of some restrictions here is giving me more optimism than I have had for some time that we will return to something that feels more normal but it is still a difficult situation .
While hurdles remain , my job as Her Majesty ’ s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific is to ensure that the UK Government continues to open doors to opportunity for UK businesses in this exciting , fast-growing and competitive region .
We continue to see UK business partnerships in this part of the world go from strength to strength . Last year alone , UK trade with Asia Pacific reached £ 92.9 billion , and we are not content to stop there .
From trade agreements , such as the recent UK-Singapore FTA , to targeted support for individual companies alongside partners such as the British Chamber of Commerce , the UK Government is working hard across the region to support UK business where our support can make most difference .
Our geostrategic tilt
The Indo-Pacific region is the world ’ s growth engine : home to half the world ’ s people ; 40 % of global GDP ; some of the fastest-growing economies ; at the forefront of new global trade arrangements ; leading and adopting digital and technological innovation and standards ; investing strongly in renewables and green tech ; and vital to our goals for investment and resilient supply chains . It already accounts for 17.5 % of UK global trade and 10 % of inward Foreign Direct Investment , and we are working to build this further , including through new trade agreements , dialogues and deeper partnerships in science , technology and data .
We know the pandemic has depressed trade flows around the world , but the UK ’ s two-way trade with South East Asia increased by 50 % between 2009 and 2019 to over £ 40 billion , which represents a strong foundation for future growth . And while there is still a lot more to do , we are excited to now be a Dialogue Partner of ASEAN , and will use this to advance our economic cooperation at a regional as well as bilateral level .
Our progress doesn ’ t stop there . In June , the UK formally launched accession negotiations with Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership ( CPTPP ) nations , pivoting Britain towards some of the world ’ s biggest economies of the present and future .
As one of the largest free trade areas in the world , it ’ s worth £ 9 trillion in GDP in 2019 . By 2030 , our exports to this region are forecast to be at £ 37 billion and growing .
Membership will also give us a new and powerful means of en-