Though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau balked at finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership last month, Japanese officials say the other countries in the trade deal could decide to push ahead on it without Canada.

The Liberal government continues to have concerns about the agreement — as a concession to Canada, it has been officially renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership — including over the protection it affords Canadian cultural industries and the auto industry.

Joseph Pickerill, a spokesman for Canadian international trade minister François-Philippe Champagne, told the Post in an email countries have agreed that whenever six out of 11 countries ratify the original TPP, the CPTPP — which modifies the existing agreement rather than rewriting it — will come into force among ratified members “while others continue to work through issues.” At present, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have ratified the deal.

The Japanese ambassador to Canada, Kimihiro Ishikane, said in an interview last week that it would be better if all 11 of the countries negotiating the deal stuck together. “Some countries really wish to see the presence of Canada. Others might have less interest … So, I think this is a very delicate balance which is in question,” he said.

“So we are sincerely hoping and strongly hoping that we can go ahead with Canada on board, yes. Otherwise this delicate balance might be affected.”

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Image credit: The National Post