Written by Adrienne Wu and Marshall Reid. For the United Kingdom, 2022 was a year of significant change, particularly in its approach to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Following years of relatively cordial UK-PRC relations, London followed the example of many other European states by shifting to a far more sceptical, confrontational policy toward Beijing. While this transformation was the product of various factors—from growing concerns regarding China’s human rights abuses to rising awareness of the PRC’s coercive economic policies—it was heavily influenced by domestic political manoeuvring. Nowhere was this more evident than in the competition between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister, in which both candidates sought to frame themselves as the most tough-on-China. In a move emblematic of this game of China-sceptic one-upmanship, Sunak made the bold claim that he would close all of the UK’s remaining Confucius Institutes, the PRC’s international Mandarin language learning centres.
Global Britain Goes to Southeast Asia: Investment Flows in an Era of Great Power Competition
Written by Guanie Lim and Xu Chengwei. In March 2021, the UK government published the ‘Global Britain in a Competitive Age’ report. Amongst other things, it sets out the UK’s four key objectives: upholding an international order supportive of liberal democratic values; contributing to the security of this order; building greater global resilience to the impacts of climate change, health insecurity, and related challenges; and pursuing an international economic agenda that strengthens the UK’s global competitiveness and supports the welfare of its citizens. One of the most practical measures to achieve such goals is to channel foreign direct investment (FDI) to outward-oriented economies, not least those with potentially enormous upside. Boasting the fifth-largest economic output in the world and a very favourable demography, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) must figure prominently in the calculus of UK policymakers.
The Impact of the UK Joining the CPTPP: Its Strategy, Economic Merits and Domestic Constraints
Written by Minako Morita-Jaeger. The UK government is currently in the process of the CPTPP accession negotiation with the expectation of joining the organisation by the end of 2022. The UK is expected to be the preferred candidate to become the first new member. UK’s accession would change the nature of the CPTPP from a current like-minded regional Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that promotes a rules-based international trade system to a cross-regional mega-FTA. This would create dynamism in the CPTPP for further expansion within and beyond the Asia-Pacific.
Australia’s Perspective on the Applications from the UK, China, and Taiwan to Join the CPTPP
Written by Richard Pomfret. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) evolution has been a combustible mixture. On the one hand, the CPTPP, as an international trade agreement that goes beyond WTO commitments, involved lengthy negotiations before consensus on the text could be reached and the CPTPP could be implemented. On the other hand, the CPTPP, as an instrument of domestic politics and of international relations, has been subject to dramatic coups de théâtre. The USA signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership after eight years of negotiations, but President Trump refused to ratify the agreement three days after taking office in January 2017. Both elements – careful negotiation of a legal text and grand political gesture – are visible in Australia’s approach to the CPTPP.
A Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP): A Game of Go? Or Three-dimensional Chess?
Written by Chun-Yi Lee and Michael Reilly. The CPTPP is an ambitious, wide-ranging free trade agreement (FTA) signed between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam in March 2018. The CPTPP was originally named as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and comprised twelve members. However, after the Trump administration withdrew the USA from it in 2017, the remaining eleven countries reorganised and renamed it. After leaving the EU, the UK applied to join in February 2021, followed by China and Taiwan in September. South Korea has been considering joining but has yet to do so. Countries seeking to join the bloc must negotiate tariffs and other market access conditions with each of the eleven original members.
Taiwan-UK Offshore Wind Cooperation Successes Should be Big News at COP26
Written by Col. Bob Stewart and Lord Rogan. With the COP26 Conference in Glasgow fast approaching, the UK Government has made the challenge of addressing climate change a priority for post-Brexit Britain. It is one of the platforms being used to launch ‘Global Britain’ back onto the world stage, and there is a great deal riding on COP26 delivering tangible results that can make a real difference in the years ahead.