Canada’s decision to decline TPP agreement shouldn’t be surprising: Trudeau

Canada’s decision to decline TPP agreement shouldn’t be surprising: Trudeau

Trudeau said that despite some significant progress on deal’s framework there’s still more work

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone when Canada declined to sign an agreement-in-principle Friday on an updated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Trudeau said Saturday in Vietnam that despite some significant progress on the deal’s framework there’s still more work to be done, particularly when it comes to protecting Canada’s auto and cultural sectors.

His decision Friday to keep negotiating for a better deal in the 11-country pact rather than striking an agreement led to the abrupt cancellation of a TPP leaders’ meeting on the sidelines of a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation.

The move prompted international headlines because foreign media reports had predicted TPP partners would reach an agreement when they gathered for the APEC event in Danang.

But Trudeau argued he sent signals all week that Canada would not close the TPP treaty unless it was right for Canadians.

“We were not going to be rushed into a deal,” Trudeau told reporters at his closing APEC news conference before heading to Philippines for a Sunday summit of southeast Asian leaders.

“It should come as no surprise and it actually didn’t come as a surprise to people who’d noticed that I was saying that and have been saying that all week.”

Trudeau credited improvements made by TPP trade ministers at the summit for agreeing to several changes that moved the talks closer to an agreement.

He also said he didn’t snub TPP leaders by skipping Friday’s meeting — he missed it because his bilateral discussion beforehand with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “went long.”

“We obviously had lots to talk about and at the end of that meeting it became clear that it was in everyone’s interest to postpone the leaders’ meeting on the TPP11,” Trudeau said.

After their 50-minute meeting, Trudeau said Abe, co-chair of the TPP leaders’ group, went to tell the other leaders, who had already gathered in the room, that the meeting had been postponed.

The cancellation set off a confusing day of talks. Media reports directly blamed Canada and Trudeau for helping to scuttle the scheduled meeting.

The remaining TPP countries have been working to salvage the deal, which was abandoned earlier this year by U.S. President Donald Trump.

A report in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald said Trudeau “sabotaged” the talks at the last minute by failing to show up for the meeting. The New Zealand Herald said Trudeau’s “no-show” had delayed TPP talks indefinitely.

Late Friday, International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne announced progress had been made.

TPP trade ministers had agreed to a number of key changes to nudge negotiations closer to a deal and he said Canada would be better off because of them.

The TPP countries agreed Friday to suspend controversial provisions from the original TPP deal related to intellectual property. The Canadian tech-sector has long urged Ottawa to fight for the removal of those elements from the deal.

Champagne said the TPP partners also established a framework to deal with rules of origin issues related to the auto sector and on how the countries will proceed with including cultural exemptions into the treaty.

The parties also agreed, he added, to enhance elements in the pact related to the environment and are much closer to stronger protections of labour rights.

Trudeau predicted Saturday that the TPP talks would help Canada in its tough renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“The reality is that showing we are in the process of diversifying our economic interests helps us in the NAFTA negotiations,” he said.

“It gives us more credibility when we want to explain that we won’t accept any agreement — we wait until it’s in the interests of Canadians.”

On Sunday, Trudeau will attend the ASEAN summit of 10 Southeast Asian leaders in Manila, hosted by President Rodgrigo Duterte, who has faced harsh international criticism for his human rights record.

Canada has been a “dialogue partner” of the peace and security group for 40 years, but Trudeau said he has no plans for have a formal bilateral meeting with the Filipino leader.

“This is an opportunity, obviously, to meet with many leaders and President Duterte is going to be hosting. There are a range of issues that I could bring up with him, that I may bring up with him, if we have an opportunity. There is no formal meeting with him,” Trudeau told reporters on Saturday.

“There’s always human rights concerns to bring up with a wide range of leaders and I’m looking forward to a busy day tomorrow with lots of meetings.”

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

The Desert Daze Music Festival is doggone good fun, as shown in this photo from the 2019 festival, and it will be back in Spences Bridge this September. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
‘Best Little Fest in the West’ returning to Spences Bridge

Belated 10th anniversary Desert Daze festival going ahead with music, vendors, workshops, and more

Internet speed graphic, no date. Photo credit: Pixabay
Study asks for public input to show actual internet speeds in B.C. communities

Federal maps showing Internet speeds might be inflated, so communities lose out on faster Internet

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read