Canada agrees to sign updated TPP

(Photo: Vancouver Fraser Port Authority)

Negotiators for the 11 remaining countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), including Canada, have reached a new deal following a two-day meeting in Japan.

“Today, I am pleased to announce that Canada and the 10 other remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership concluded discussions in Tokyo, Japan, on a new Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP),” said International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, in a statement referring to the new name for the TPP on Tuesday morning, hours after his spokesperson confirmed Canada will sign the revised deal.

“We said from the beginning that we didn’t want just any deal; we wanted a good deal for Canada and for Canadians. Canada went to great lengths to ensure to reach a progressive agreement that will benefit Canada and Canadians for decades to come. These involved a whole-of-government approach and direct engagement at the highest levels,” said Champagne. “The agreement reached in Tokyo today is the right deal.”

Canadian agriculture groups have been urging Ottawa to sign the Pacific Rim trade pact, given the opportunities it represents for improved market access into major markets like Japan and Vietnam.

Japan’s minister for the TPP said the official signing ceremony will take place in Chile on March 8th.

The new deal comes one year to the day after U.S. President Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the original TPP, which was signed by 12 countries in February 2016, but was not implemented.

Canada appeared to be the lone holdout among the remaining 11 countries when Prime Minister Trudeau did not show up at a TPP leaders meeting in Vietnam in November.

The Canadian government feels it made progress — some of it after the Vietnam meeting — on enforceability in the labour and environment chapters, auto rules-of-origin, as well as the suspension of provisions related to investor-state dispute settlement and intellectual property. Canada has agreed to side letters with TPP countries to address some of these concerns.

“We are happy to confirm the achievement of a significant outcome on culture as well as an improved arrangement on autos with Japan, along with the suspension of many intellectual property provisions of concern to Canadian stakeholders,” said Champagne.

A government source says the trade minister was on the phone with his TPP counterparts over the weekend and through last night.

The 11 countries in the new TPP deal are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Assuming the signing happens in March, the deal will still have to be ratified by Canadian Parliament.

Editor’s note: updated with comments from Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne

 

Kelvin Heppner

Kelvin Heppner is a field editor and radio host for RealAgriculture and RealAg Radio. He's been reporting on agriculture on the prairies and across Canada since 2008(ish). He farms with his family near Altona, Manitoba, and is on Twitter at @realag_kelvin. @realag_kelvin

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