You may have seen that after a 21-month negotiation, we recently struck the biggest trade deal since Brexit and will be joining the snappily named "Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership” (CTPP). 

The CPTPP is a vast free trade area made up of 11 dynamic countries including Singapore, Australia, Canada, and Japan. With 500 million people and now a total GDP of £11 trillion, trade with these countries will create jobs and boost our economy by billions.

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We have a growing science and technology base in Andover — and this deal will give our local firms better access to new territories and remove the barriers that hinder trade. Remotely delivered services to these countries were worth some £20.5 billion in 2020, I hope our entrepreneurs take advantage.

It’s good news for our local farmers too. The National Farmers’ Union has said that its ambition is to grow our food exports by 30 per cent in this decade — this deal will lower tariffs and help local farmers sell more of their dairy to the Americas, poultry to Vietnam, and lamb to Malaysia. Just last year, we exported some £23.9 million of dairy products to the CPTPP, this agreement should increase that significantly. 

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Most of this constituency voted for Brexit, as did I. Part of my reasoning for doing so was a strong belief that our future prosperity was dependent on a decisive shift in our trading patterns towards the fast-growing economies of the East. This deal begins that process and we will benefit from it.

CPTPP adds yet another ingredient to the cocktail of success being mixed in Andover. With significant new investment in health facilities, an ambitious plan for new parks and a redeveloped town centre, more housing for young people, and a thriving business sector, our town is set for a bright future.