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Trans-Pacific Partnership talks resume after Trudeau no-show
13 November 2017, 12:25 | Terri Saunders
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is welcomed to Vietnam as she steps onto the tarmac
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending Canada's actions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, asserting the country simply was not ready to put pen to paper on a final agreement because of lingering concerns around culture and the automotive sector.
Earlier in the day, the TPP countries agreed on the core elements to move ahead with the trade pact, after last-minute resistance from Canada raised new doubts about its survival.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said earlier Friday that the 11 leaders had to postpone their meeting on the sidelines of the annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Danang, Vietnam.
Trade ministers from 11 Pacific Rim countries announced an agreement on pushing ahead with a free-trade deal whose destiny was uncertain after Trump dropped it. Francois-Philippe Champagne, minister of worldwide trade, said in a statement Ottawa "will not be rushed into an agreement that is not in the interest of Canada".
"However, prominent anti-TPP campaigner, Jane Kelsey from The University of Auckland law school, said in a statement based on a leaked text of today's progress statement that she was "'disappointed, but not surprised" that the Labour government had largely endorsed the TPP agreement signed up to by the previous National Party-led government "with the suspension of a limited range of items".
The U.S., originally the biggest TPP economy, had been one of the trade deal's most assertive supporters before Trump took office.
Talks between trade and foreign ministers from the group failed to reach agreement on their usual joint statement in the face of USA demands to remove language about supporting free trade and fighting protectionism.
But we also strongly assert that Canada should never have gotten to this point, and should now withdraw from the TPP-11 talks once and for all.
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The Trudeau government had previously never fully committed to the TPP, and spent months consulting the public on the agreement.
"The "just about" could be important; there are four provisions of the TPP which are suspended".
Canada's position has been further complicated by the fact that it is simultaneously renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) with the Trump administration. Why not take a few months to draft a better agreement that removes all of the restrictive and damaging clauses included in the original TPP at the behest of the United States?
Made from locally-grown barley, corn, rye and wheat, Canadian Whisky and other Canadian Spirits are amongst the most highly added-value Canadian exports, supporting local farmers, providing jobs to Canadians across the country, and creating wealth for Canada. China is not part of the TPP.
"We weren't ready to close it yesterday", Trudeau told reporters at the closing news conference for the APEC summit in Vietnam.
At this stage there's no meeting of all 11 leaders planned for Saturday.
Junichi Sugawara, a trade policy expert at the Mizuho Research Institute, said, "Realistically speaking, I think it will be quite hard for Japan to fend off requests to start negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement, although it depends on how hard the United States pushes".
Later, leaders of the 21 Apec economies agreed to address "unfair trade practices" and called for the removal of "market distorting subsidies", in contrast to communiques they have issued in the past.
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