The stalling of the Canada-European Union trade deal has renewed discussion about Canada moving ahead on ratifying its participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership — even if the U.S. isn’t part of the deal.

“If we’re going to take a timeout on CETA (the Canada-EU deal), why don’t we push to get TPP done? The Japanese will have it through their upper house by the end of November. New Zealand and the Aussies are pushing ahead on it, going hard. There’s no reason to think we have to wait for the Americans,” said former agriculture minister, and now opposition trade critic, Gerry Ritz on RealAg Radio on Tuesday.

Both U.S. presidential candidates have been critical of TPP, casting doubt on whether the agreement between 12 countries around the Pacific Rim will ever be implemented. The current terms require U.S. participation, but Ritz said that could be changed.

“We really don’t need the Americans to ratify this deal. Most of the other 11 countries are saying the same thing now,” he said. “At the end of the day, if there’s an agreement by all 11 to not open the text, but to move aside from that, certainly it could be done.”

If the U.S. isn’t part of the deal, Ritz noted other TPP countries could still access the U.S. market via Canada (and Mexico) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also gave what might be his most definitive signal to date on whether his government will ratify TPP as agreed to by the Conservative government when Ritz was agriculture minister.

“It’s difficult to imagine a world where Canada would turn its back on three of its top five trading partners… We established very clearly during the campaign that we’re a pro-trade party,” said Trudeau, speaking at a youth labour meeting in Ottawa on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg News.

Ritz joined us on RealAg Radio on Tuesday to chat about the state of the Canada-EU deal, TPP and more:

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