Canadian chief executives are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to nail down and implement an 11-nation Pacific Rim trade deal, as Canada holds out in hopes of changes.
The Business Council of Canada, representing chief executives from many of the country’s biggest firms, said the latest version of the Trans Pacific Partnership would be immensely beneficial and is imperiled by any delay. The TPP controversy comes as talks toward a revised North American Free Trade Agreement stall on contentious U.S. demands.
“Now more than ever, Canada should be doing everything possible to diversify its trade,” said John Manley, chief executive of the group, said in a statement concluding a visit to Japan, the largest economy in the proposed pact. The pacific deal “would be a game-changer for Canadian companies in key markets in the Americas and across the Pacific.”
The group’s chair, Linamar Corp. Chief Executive Officer Linda Hasenfratz, also called on Trudeau to finalize the deal. Linamar is a major auto parts maker, and Hasenfratz sits on the Canadian government’s advisory council for Nafta talks.
The fate of the Pacific trade deal, which was rebranded as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, remains in doubt as Canada — the second-largest economy in the pact — pushes for changes while Japan calls for a quick agreement.
A meeting in Vietnam of leaders of the 11 CPTPP nations was canceled this month when Trudeau didn’t show up, an absence the Canadians said was due to a lengthy meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The nations are seeking a way forward after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the deal.
Trudeau has said the country won’t be rushed into a deal, which was agreed to initially by his predecessor. A Japanese newspaper report this week suggested the other countries might proceed without Canada.