Saskatchewan’s provincial government is urging Ottawa to pursue other trade avenues with Asia-Pacific countries after the United States withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement Monday.
“The TPP would have opened up markets like Japan for Saskatchewan exporters, particularly in the agriculture sector,” a Saskatchewan government spokesperson said in a statement Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to withdraw from the agreement.
“Saskatchewan strongly encourages the Canadian federal government to seek out alternative strategies for the Asia-Pacific region now that it is very evident that the TPP as negotiated will not proceed.”
The TPP was a 12 country agreement aimed at eliminating trade barriers between Canada, the USA, Chile, Japan and a number of other Pacific Rim nations. It was signed last February after years of negotiations.
The order to withdraw was one of three executive directives signed by Trump on Monday. The new U.S. president criticized the deal consistently on the campaign trail, stating it would eliminate American jobs.
“We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” Trump said before signing the memorandum that withdrew the U.S. from the agreement.
“Great thing for the American worker, what we just did.”
The provincial spokesperson said Monday that the action seems to confirm “that the new U.S. Administration has no intention of ratifying the TPP and allowing the agreement to take effect.”
“The TPP was not expected to come into effect until 2018, so there are no short-term impacts for Saskatchewan exporters from this U.S. decision,” the statement said.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall had applauded the agreement when it was reached in October 2015, calling it a “huge deal for Canada as a trading nation and Saskatchewan as a trading province.”
“The TPP will encourage major growth and investment in our value-added agriculture sector through better access to these markets for our processed products, such as canola oil and meal, malt barley, beef and pork,” Wall said at the time.
White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said Monday in a press conference that Trump would look to engage TPP members in separate bi-lateral agreements.