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|The UK is negotiating digital trade partnerships with Singapore and Vietnam. Photo: The northern mountainous areas of Vietnam|
UK trade with Southeast Asia is up 70 per cent over the past decade to £42 billion ($56 billion), and “we could do more,” Natalie Black, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner (HMTC) for the Asia-Pacific told Bloomberg.
UK companies are showing a “huge amount of interest” in developing digital trade partnerships in the Asia-Pacific. This is a real focus for the UK, which is currently in trade talks with Singapore and Vietnam, she said.
“We collectively need to put free trade at the centre of everything that we’re trying to achieve amid COVID-19 recovery in preserving jobs, supply chains, and keeping affordable goods and services flowing," said Black.
Regarding Brexit’s impact on Asia-Pacific relationships, Black said Brexit used to be more prominent but lately “has gone down in the agenda.”
The UK remains “very interested” in contributing to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and is closely following negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).