Despite President-elect Trump’s clear intention to remove the United States from the deal, Japan became the first country in the Trans-Pacific Partnership to ratify the 12 country trade agreement on Friday.
The move is seen as being somewhat symbolic, since the TPP’s text requires U.S. participation. Trump has said he will pull America out of the TPP on the day he takes office.
Canada’s Liberal government should follow Japan’s lead in ratifying the agreement, says opposition trade critic Gerry Ritz. The former Conservative agriculture minister has repeatedly stated that Canada and the other countries should move ahead on the deal without the U.S.
“The political climate in the United States should never dictate Canada’s policy positions when it comes to the international trade, and it certainly should not preclude us from being a leader on the world stage. Yet that is exactly what is happening as six nations are reportedly pressing ahead with the TPP agreement independent of what Washington decides,” he said in a statement on Friday.
“With the TPP now ratified in Japan, and the Liberals eyeing it as a target market, it is time for the government to decide if it wants to salvage this important trade pact, or let the hard work go to waste. Canada will not get a better negotiated outcome through bilateral talks,” said Ritz. “Nothing is preventing the 11 other TPP members from pushing forward, only a lack of political will.”
Indications are New Zealand, Australia and Mexico will also ratify the TPP in the coming months, he said.