News the UK can begin the process of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) was today welcomed by the Law Society of England and Wales.
Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said:
“Entry to the CPTPP will provide important benefits for the UK services sector given the number of UK businesses that provide services in the Asia-Pacific region, including law firms, financial institutions and consultancies.
“This will also be the first time that a new signatory has sought to join the CPTPP and is an opportunity for the UK to show leadership in international trade.
“The CPTPP encourages the cross-border provision of legal services and, for some member countries, this is one of the first free trade agreements (FTAs) that explicitly covers market access commitments on legal services.”
As in all FTA discussions, a challenge for trade in legal services is that barriers may remain ’behind the border’.
I. Stephanie Boyce added:
“A key benefit of the CPTPP is that it can address these barriers through its Professional Services Annex. This provides a principles-based framework that supports the development of the regulation of foreign lawyers and the legal services sector.
“The CPTPP also has the potential to promote and support the legal services sector via the Professional Services Working Group. The Law Society encouraged the UK government to make use of all these options to fully benefit from CPTPP membership.
“We are looking forward to continuing to ensure that legal services are represented as the UK government begins formal talks with the 11 members of the CPTPP.”