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Is UK in talks to join Pacific trade group after Brexit? Liam Fox responds to reports

(c) Sky News 2018: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/is-uk-in-talks-to-join-pacific-trade-group-after-brexit-liam-fox-responds-to-reports-11194027">Is UK in talks to join Pacific trade group after Brexit? Liam Fox responds to reports</a>
 

Reports of Britain holding informal talks to join a Pacific trade group have been played down by Liam Fox.

The International Trade Secretary said it was "a little premature" for Britain to think about signing up to the 11-nation bloc.

Speaking on a visit to Beijing in China, he explained that because the current arrangement between the nations was being re-negotiated, the UK would have to see what the "final details will look like".

The agreement between economic powerhouses in the Pacific like Japan and Singapore is being drawn up again after President Donald Trump called it a "potential disaster" and pulled the US out in January 2016 .

Responding to the reports of British interest in joining, Mr Fox said: "We don't know what the success of the TPP is going to yet look like, because it isn't yet negotiated.

"So it would be a little bit premature for us to be wanting to sign up to something that we're not sure what the final details will look like.

"However, we have said that we want to be an open, outward-looking country, and therefore it would be foolish for us to rule out any particular outcomes for the future.

"So we'll keep an open mind, and we'll want to talk to our global trading partners."

The Financial Times reported earlier that exploratory talks had already been launched to boost exports post-Brexit.

It quoted a junior minister saying there was no geographical restriction on the deal, despite the closest current signatory, Canada, being 3,600 miles away.

Mr Fox is in China on a three-day visit to promote UK business and innovation.