Canada to review TPP pact, seek public input

Ottawa | Reuters –– Canada’s new Liberal government will review a landmark Pacific trade deal negotiated by the outgoing Conservatives and wants public input on the accord, Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said Thursday.

Some Canadian dairy farmers and auto workers say their jobs could be threatened by the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, which seeks to cut tariffs and taxes on commerce in 40 per cent of the world’s economy.

Freeland told reporters Canada firmly backed free trade, but added the government wanted public comments as well as a full Parliamentary debate on the accord.

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“Now is a chance for us to actually see the agreement, which the previous government negotiated,” she said.

Asked whether Canada could seriously walk away from the deal, she replied: “We are committed to reviewing the agreement… and, crucially, to giving Canadians a chance to read it and to respond to it.”

Freeland said she did not know when the deadline for public comments would be.

The full text of the deal — which the 12 countries signed early last month — was released earlier Thursday. It was negotiated by the Conservatives, who lost power in an Oct. 19 election.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed last week to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Japan’s foreign ministry said in a statement. Canadian officials declined to comment.

Reporting for Reuters by David Ljunggren in Ottawa.

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