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

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii and Bella Bella organizations receive funding for arts and culture

The Community Resilience Through Arts and Culture funded 83 organizations across B.C. this year

Fire ban back in effect for Northwest Fire Centre region

Starting May 24, both Category 2 and Category 3 prohibitions will be in place

This summer Masset RCMP will give positive tickets to youths

More than a dozen community partners are involved in encouraging good behaviour once school is out

New Seven Sisters replacement confirmed

Mental health facility will have 25 beds, up from 20 in current facility

Terrace hospital’s business plan approved

Health Minister’s announcement opens door to construction phase

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Most Read