DAVOS, Switzerland - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada and the remaining 11 countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed to a revised trade agreement. The deal comes exactly one year after President Trump withdrew his country from the agreement.
The agreement follows two days of high-level talks in Tokyo and was confirmed by Canadian International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne. The partners are now expected to work toward signing the agreement by early March.
Trudeau says the pact meets Canada's objectives of creating and sustaining growth, prosperity and well-paying middle-class jobs today and for generations to come.
Since taking power, Mr. Trump has argued for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico and pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an initiative ostensibly designed to liberalize and enhance regional trade.
Though without its biggest member, the U.S., the remaining members of the TPP are committing to a deal -- Trudeau told business leaders inthat a revised agreement had been signed in Tokyo after two days of high-level talks.
"This agreement meets our objectives of creating and sustaining growth, prosperity and well-paying middle-class jobs today and for generations to come," Trudeau said. "If we're going to push back against the anti-trade tendency in globalization that will leave us all worse off, we have to put the concerns and the well-being of our ordinary citizens at the center of what we are negotiating and that's what all 11 of us have been able to do."
The deal comes amid worries that Mr. Trump will pull the U.S. out of thedeal. Seventy-five percent of Canada's trade goes to the U.S. and Canada is eager to diversify.
During an Oval Office photo op with Trudeau in October, Mr. Trump said "we'll see what happens with NAFTA," but said he's "been opposed to NAFTA for a long time."
And in a nod to Mr. Trump, Trudeau also said his government is "working very hard to make sure our neighbor to the south recognizes how good NAFTA is and that it's benefited not just our economy, but his economy and the world's economy."
Though the possibility of a tit-for-tat trade war between major economies is one of the clouds hanging over the global economy, optimism over the outlook is better than at any time since before the global financial crisis erupted a decade ago. The International Monetary Fund, for example, upgraded its global growth forecast for 2018 to 3.9 percent with India growing at a more-than-healthy 7.4 percent, up from 6.7 percent last year. Canada, though, is projected to see growth slow from 3 percent in 2017 to a still-solid rate of 2.3 percent this year.