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TPP 11 trade pact talks commence in Japan

The 11 Trans-Pacific Partnership countries have addressed the last few thorny issues and agreed to a deal, according to reports out of Japan.

"People are anxious or become increasingly convinced that trade deals benefit the few, not the many, benefit a country's bottom line, benefit multinationals, but don't benefit ordinary workers", he said.

He said it's great news for lumber exporters, and livestock producers, and many other Canadians and he believes it's smart for Canada to diversify its trade.

Assuming the deal is signed - and trade minister Steven Ciobo was quick to stress "it's never a done deal until everyone's ink's drying" - it will be without the United States.

Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, told delegates at Davos that it was an "impressive, progressive" pact.

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Those fresh obstacles were on top of 22 other provisions (including one on state-run companies opposed by Malaysia) that were successfully suspended after the U.S. backed out of the deal in 2017.

The deal comes at a pivotal time as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks resume this week. I've said Canada will not settle for less. "We encourage negotiators in Montreal to continue building on the progress made in previous rounds so the United States can focus on tearing down trade barriers in Asia and around the world".

Speaking from Davos, Ciobo told Australia's Radio National the deal would increase access to Japan for Australian beef producers, resulting in a "more rapid decrease on tariffs" that would provide a competitive advantage "at the expense of U.S. beef producers".

The Tokyo talks were the first high-level talks since the leaders of the TPP countries met in November on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam. So it helps to show we're doing all we can to open other markets in case the USA actually pulls the plug on the North American Free Trade Agreement, as President Donald Trump keeps threatening to do.

The TPP looked doomed previous year after President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S., dismaying allies but fulfilling an election pledge.

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"Today is a great day for Canada but it is also a great day for progressive trade around the world", Trudeau said Tuesday at an annual gathering of business and political elites in Davos, Switzerland.

Canada walked away from the negotiating table in November, saying the deal fell short for this country in some key areas. As we now enter a pivotal round of NAFTA negotiations, the last thing we need is to take a step backwards in our relationships with Canada and Mexico.

Besides Japan, the new deal's partners are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

At the time, trade ministers did agree to a number of changes to nudge negotiations closer to a deal, including stronger protections for the environment and labour rights.

Crucial for Canada is access to Japan's market, the third-largest in the world.

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