Trans-Pacific trade deal to proceed without US

Jan 25, 2018, 01:41
Trans-Pacific trade deal to proceed without US

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos that he helped push for an improved deal, showing how important the trade file has become for him personally.

Ministers from the 11 countries, including Japan, Australia and Canada, agreed in November on core elements to move ahead without the United States, but demands by countries including Canada for measures to ensure the deal protects jobs blocked a final agreement. Soon after taking office a year ago, Trump followed through on his pledge to pull out from the TPP, which was championed by Barack Obama's administration as a way to ensure American influence over the way trade rules are set in this century.

Canada's unions are uniting in protest over today's announcement that the Canadian government is signing onto a new Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, saying the move directly contradicts the government's claim that it is standing up for Canadian workers.

Eleven countries aiming to forge an Asia-Pacific trade pact after the United States pulled out of an earlier version will sign an agreement in Chile in March, Japan's economy minister said on Tuesday, in a big win for Tokyo.

Australia's opposition Labor party said the new pact had lost its shine since the U.S. withdrawal and the government had failed to specify how the country would benefit from it.

"We have made significant efforts to uphold the spirit and substance of the original agreement, while maintaining its high ambition and overall balance", said Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry.

But a major labour union and a group representing auto parts manufacturers said the deal would cause job losses.

Trade officials had been meeting in Tokyo to resolve rifts including Canada's insistence on protections for its cultural industries such as movies, TV and music. Investor-state dispute mechanisms allow corporations to challenge environmental regulations and could put a chill on governments trying to fight climate change.

But, an even greater concern is the impact that TPP II will have on NAFTA negotiations dealing with the auto sector.