The UK’s New Free Trade Agreements in the Asia-Pacific: How Closely is it Adopting US Trade Regulation?

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In a global economy and system increasingly defined by new developments and complexities in trade, whose rules and regulations govern that trade matter. The UK has embarked on a new post-Brexit trade policy, signing its first wholly new free trade agreements (FTAs) with Australia and New Zealand. It is also in negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) as part of the UK’s aspirations to become an integral part of the Asia-Pacific trading community. This study’s research and text analysis on the UK’s bilateral FTAs with Australia and New Zealand reveals high levels of similarity with two larger regional agreements heavily imprinted with US trade regulatory norms – this being the CPTPP itself and the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA). The UK’s revealed willingness to strongly align itself with US trade regulatory norms has important implications for the Asia-Pacific. It also raises some key issues on what kind of trade partner the region might expect a post-Brexit ‘Global Britain’ to become, and how the UK’s deeper planned engagement with the Asia-Pacific could affect its strategic dynamics. This could significantly depend on how closely the UK is pulled over time into the US’ trade regulatory orbit.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPacific Review
Early online date26 Feb 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Feb 2023


  • free trade agreements (FTAs)
  • trade regulation
  • UK
  • Asia-Pacific
  • US hegemony


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