WASHINGTON: British business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch plans to attend a meeting of a major trans-Pacific trade pact, which does not include the US, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco.

It will be Britain’s first attendance at a meeting of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) after London signed up to the massive trade bloc in New Zealand in July, a UK official told Reuters.

US officials had no immediate information about the CPTPP meeting, saying that Washington had not been invited.

CPTPP is a free trade agreement sealed in 2018 between 11 countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – after the former Trump administration withdrew the US from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Britain is the only European member of CPTPP and the first new country to join since it was created in 2018.

“Joining CPTPP will link the UK to some of the world’s most dynamic economies, a club that is worth £12 trillion (US$14.99 trillion) of gross domestic product,” the official added.

Details about the CPTPP meeting and which countries will participate were not immediately available.

To date, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Taiwan have applied to join the trade pact, and South Korea, Thailand, and Ukraine are also considering membership.

The US has said it is not interested in joining the trade bloc, despite calls from some lawmakers to sign up. Washington is advancing its own initiative, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).