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TPP talks continue, Canada shows hesitation

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Trade officials gather in Tokyo this week in an attempt to forge ahead on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the United States, but  Canada bogs down discussions.

The member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, also known as TPP 11, reached a basic agreement on the pact in November. However, Canada is holding out to secure protection of its cultural industries. Canadian officials say the country will not be rushed into signing a deal that other members hope to conclude by March, according to Reuters. TPP nations are “committed” to advancing the deal forward as quickly as possible.

While not likely, the nations could exclude Canada, as an Australian official says: “Our focus is on bringing a new TPP agreement into force as soon as possible with those who are ready to move.” Farm groups, including the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, last week urged Canada to commit to the agreement. Without the new TPP, the Association says: “Canadian beef producers will watch helplessly as our exports to Japan erode.”