Nations meet in Canada to discuss fate of pact without US
TORONTO: Canada is hosting a round of exploratory negotiations on the future of the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) after the United States bowed out.
Senior trade officials from every remaining signatory country convened the so-called TPP-minus-one talks, here, starting yesterday.
While ministers won’t attend, the event was expected to set the stage for an upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit of trade ministers in Vietnam.
This week’s talks are also the latest sign of Canada looking to pivot in part away from its biggest trading partner — coming amid escalating disputes with President Donald Trump’s administration over the North American Free Trade Agreement, softwood lumber and the dairy sector.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government responded to US lumber duties last week by saying it would in turn try to sell more of its products to Asia.
“Canada bills itself as the bridge between the Pacific and the Atlantic, and we’re happy to host them,” said International Trade Minister FrancoisPhilippe Champagne on Monday.
“It shows that Canada is front and centre when it comes to trade in the Asia-Pacific region.”
The government has left the door open to pursuing a bilateral trade deal with Japan — the biggest economy remaining in the TPP — and Trudeau said in an interview last month Canada seemed to be in a “post-TPP world”. Bloomberg