Debate on the Comprehensive and Economic Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has begun in the House of Commons, with the government reiterating its intention to include Canada among the first six countries to ratify the deal with the Asia-Pacific region.
Under the agreement, six countries must ratify before the pact can come into force.
The multilateral agreement was reached between 11 nations after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans Pacific Partnership in January 2017, a key piece of his “America First” platform.
“This is not just a new trade agreement for Canada, this is a signal to the world that trade matters, that rules matter, and that we will not be drawn into the world of protectionism,” International Trade Minister Jim Carr stressed.
Carr told MPs the CPTPP is essential for Canadian competitiveness. “The CPTPP is a call to action,” he said.
“I call on all members in this house and in the other place to move swiftly … now is our time.”
He said Canada needs to diversify markets for goods, noting the pact offers significant opportunities for Canadian industry, notably agriculture.
Monday’s debate on the CPTPP in the House of Commons comes as Canadian and American officials continue work on a bilateral NAFTA agreement in Washington.
Canada’s export dependent agriculture industry has repeatedly said CPTPP is critical for the sector in light of the ongoing uncertainty on the NAFTA front.