Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a bilateral meeting at the APEC Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

Abe, Trudeau to tout trade gains without Trump participation in Pacific Rim pact

Canada finds itself between a rock and a hard place with the United States and China

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s whirlwind visit to Ottawa this weekend offers the Liberal government a rare chance to trumpet a strong international alliance in the face of unyielding strain with its two top trading partners.

Canada finds itself between a rock and a hard place with the United States and China: the Trump administration is holding firm on punitive metal tariffs while the People’s Republic’s ongoing imprisonment of two Canadian men following the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer in Vancouver has thwarted the Trudeau government’s Asian trade ambitions.

READ MORE: Trudeau says Ontario ‘shortsighted and irresponsible’ for challenging carbon tax

Abe and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will celebrate their successful launch of the rebooted Trans-Pacific Partnership late last year — the 11-country Pacific Rim trade alliance that was rescued after President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from it in January 2017, nearly killing it.

The two countries are also charter members of another international club that doesn’t include the U.S.: the Alliance for Multilateralism, a French-German initiative aimed at supporting the post Second World War architecture — the United Nations, NATO, the World Trade Organization, and others — to which Trump has taken a wrecking ball.

Abe is to host the G20 summit in June and will join Trudeau at the G7 leaders’ gathering in France in late August, and while Trump’s seat at those two multilateral tables is guaranteed, continuing U.S. participation is no longer a given with its mercurial president.

International Trade Minister Jim Carr, who met Abe in Japan in January and will accompany Trudeau on Sunday, said the summit is about reinforcing strong Japanese-Canadian ties that have only flourished more since the new TPP. He cited increased exports of Canadian beef, pork and heavy machinery to Japan.

“The Americans chose for their own reasons not to be part of that group,” Carr said in an interview Saturday. “Our interest is to take advantage of the ratification of this agreement in our countries, to deepen the trading relationship, which we are already doing.”

Abe arrived in Ottawa on Saturday, hours after playing a round of golf with Trump at his Virginia course on a visit that demonstrated personal bonhomie but bore no fruit towards advancing a U.S.-Japan trade deal to replace the TPP that Trump abandoned.

Carr said the Abe-Trudeau bond is also strong and that it will help “set the stage” for this summer’s round of multilateral summitry — foreign trips that will be Trudeau’s last before Parliament breaks in June ahead of the October election.

“We are agreed that the rules-based multilateral trading order is in the interest of all of those nations who have benefited from post-war freer trading relationships among countries. We believe that rules-based trading systems create growth and create jobs,” said Carr.

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Recycling services in Queen Charlotte, Port Clements expanding next week

Residential plastics will be accepted again, but most residential transfer stations remain closed

‘At least they’re safe:’ Arrival of new Syrian refugee family to Haida Gwaii delayed due to COVID-19

Operation Refugees says family stuck in Lebanon with no flights, ‘but at least they’re safe’

‘Good news:’ Council of the Haida Nation releases guidelines for expanding social circles

Next steps also say outdoor spaces such as parks, playgrounds, trails may be reopening for day use

Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay wins ‘Most Outstanding School’ award

B.C. School Sports will present school with banner, add GTN to plaque as winners of 2019-2020 year

‘A time of transition:’ CHN looking to release next steps of pandemic response this week

State of local emergency is in effect; Gaagwiis says CHN developing indicators to guide next steps

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Most Read