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

Abbotsford Pilots continue up-and-down season

PJHL club wins in Langley, shutout on home ice by Mission

Abbots-FORD or Abbits-FERD?

Meme sparks debate over proper pronunciation of city’s name

Abbotsford Centre records busiest fall on record

Venue sees more than 48,000 guests and four sellouts from Sept. 14 to Nov. 3

Cineplex to show free holiday movies to support Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Community Day will be on Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m at select theatres

UFV Theatre and School of Creative Arts present ART

Production opens Thursday, Nov. 14 at Abbotsford campus

VIDEO: Disney Plus gives Canadians a streaming platform that nearly matches U.S. version

The Walt Disney Company’s new subscription platform unveiled a comprehensive offering of nearly 500 films

What happens if Metro Vancouver bus drivers start a ‘good work’ strike?

Unifor has said they could get ‘creative’ with fare collection if transit strike drags on

Maple Ridge’s anti-panhandling bylaw gets final OK

Council votes 6-1 to ban aggressive begging

Nearly half of B.C. drivers nervous in winter conditions: BCAA

‘Wait and see’ approach common practice for 32% of B.C. motorists

Autism support dog refused bus access for being a ‘pet’

B.C. grandmother files complaint with TransLink, calls for better awareness of service dogs

Students plan rally at B.C. education minister’s office as district strike enters third week

Saanich School District students plan to rally outside Rob Fleming’s constituency office in Victoria

73% of B.C. residents agree with a temporary ban on vaping products: poll

54% say they would not date someone who vapes, Research Co. poll suggests

Sex assault charge stayed against Port Moody mayor

Rob Vagramov completed an alternative measures program, special prosecutor said

B.C.’s 13-cent gasoline gap still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Most Read