UK officials 'suggest joining Trans-Pacific Partnership after Brexit'
Government officials have reportedly suggested the UK considers signing up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bloc after Brexit.
The TPP has yet to be negotiated, but its 11 would-be signatories include sizeable economies such as Japan, Mexico, Canada and Australia.
The US had also signalled its intent to sign up under the Obama administration, only for Donald Trump to pull out of the deal just days into his presidency.
Mr Trump repeatedly railed against the deal on the campaign trail, calling it a "disaster" which would destroy American jobs.
But British officials are now scoping out the possibility of joining up, despite the UK being thousands of miles from the Pacific Rim area.
Trade minister Greg Hands told the Financial Times that "with these kind of plurilateral relationships, there doesn’t have to be any geographical restriction”.
Elsewhere, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox fired a New Year’s message to pro-European campaigners, telling them to “get beyond the obsession with criticising Brexit”.
“One of my most frequent, and frustrating, experiences of 2017 was returning from a positive and optimistic international visit only to encounter a wave of negativism at home,” he wrote.
“The interest being shown in Britain overseas, and an increasing willingness to trade and invest with us, was in stark contrast to the self-defeating pessimism that is too often on show from certain politicians, commentators and media outlets over here.”