Canada Agrees To Sign New Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement With Asian Nations

Canada’s federal government has agreed to a revised version of the “Trans-Pacific Partnership” trade agreement with Asian nations and will sign onto the new deal.

The agreement comes after talks were held in Japan this week with a total of 11 countries now committed to a new trade pact. Canada was seen as the main holdout during talks held in Vietnam last November. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sparked an international controversy when he didn't sign onto the agreement in principle last fall, arguing that Canada had concerns about the pact's culture and the automotive sectors.

A Canadian trade official with close ties to the deal told CBC News Tuesday that Minister of International Trade, Francois-Philippe Champagne, spent this past weekend, and into Monday night, speaking to his Asian counterparts by telephone and getting the assurances he needed for Canada to agree to sign onto the trade agreement.

Canada made gains on the trade deal’s labour and environment chapters, and now plans to sign on. The agreement has been renamed the “Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

The new trade deal with Asia comes as Canadian government officials struggle to reach agreement on a new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States and Mexico. Talks on NAFTA resume in Montreal this week.