(Bloomberg) -- The UK hopes to join an 11-nation trans-Pacific trading bloc in the near future as it seeks to broaden commercial ties with the rest of the world in the wake of leaving the European Union, Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said.

“We are looking to join imminently,” Badenoch told the House of Commons on Thursday. “We have reached a great stage in negotiations” and will have “good news” in due course.

Since leaving the EU three years ago, the UK’s Conservative government has sought to broker a series of new trade deals to deliver on what it calls the benefits of Brexit. While Britain already has bilateral deals with more than half of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership’s 11 members, joining the pact would further grease the wheels of trade with a bloc of nations representing about 13% of global economic output. 

After the opposition Labour Party warned about standards weakening in areas like pesticides residue, Badenoch said the UK is working to protect its food standards in the final stages of talks to join the CPTPP. There are also concerns that Britain will relax import tariffs on palm oil from Malaysia in exchange for joining the pact. 

The trade bloc’s current members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

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