Trade officials gathered in Japan on Monday for two days of talks to try to forge a trade pact that U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned last year, but the new 11-member club risks getting bogged down by resistance from Canada.
The member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP), also known as TPP 11, reached a basic agreement on the pact in November.
But Canada is holding out to secure protection of its cultural industries, like movies, TV, and music, and has said it will not be rushed into signing a deal that other members hope to conclude by March.
That is casting a shadow over a meeting of trade officials from member countries this week in Tokyo and raises questions about the economic benefits of a pact that doesn’t bring Canada into the fold.
“There are still gaps,” between Canada and other members, Kazuhisa Shibuya, Japan’s senior TPP official, told reporters after the first day meetings, according to Kyodo news agency.
The economic impact of the TPP would be “significantly further eroded” if Canada postponed its decision to join, said Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Markit.
After Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement last year, Japan took a leading role in pushing for a replacement pact.
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