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 conceptual rendering of the commercial plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road. (Town of Ladysmith/June 15 Council Agenda)
Rocky Creek commercial plaza passes public hearing

The proposed plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road would bring commercial activity to Ladysmith’s north end

Kate Cram and her team at Old Town Ice Cream are thrilled to be open for business. (Cole Schisler photo)
Old Town Ice Cream opens up right on time for summer

Located at 539 1st Avenue, Old Time Ice Cream is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Volunteers Alex Cook, Ron Dashwood, and Bill Drysdale have been hard at work restoring the old Ladysmith train station. (Cole Schisler photo)
Train station restoration on track for future community open house

Community is asked to give feedback on what they think the best use is for the station

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

Most Read