TPP could work in Canada's favour during NAFTA talks, says former Minister MacKay
DANANG, Vietnam -- With talks on a Pacific Rim trade deal intensifying, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held bilateral meetings Friday with the president of Mexico and the prime minister of Japan at the APEC summit in Vietnam.
All three leaders will participate in talks later in the day, on the sidelines of the summit, to try and salvage the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
It's unclear what kind of agreement the TPP countries could reach on an updated version of the deal that was abandoned earlier this year by U.S. President Donald Trump.
Trudeau has said he's not going to rush into the deal unless it addresses the best interests of Canadians, even as some partners press Canada to move quickly on a revised TPP.
A senior government official says Japan has been one of the countries applying pressure on Canada to come to an agreement on an updated TPP.
Trudeau and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stood side by side and smiled for the cameras before their meeting. They only clasped hands after someone in the room said: "Shake hands please."
Then the men took their seats.
"When did you get in?" Trudeau asked.
"Yesterday," Abe responded.
Late Thursday, Trudeau's Liberal government flatly denied media reports quoting Japan's economy minister saying that a "deal in principle" had been reached on the trade pact.
International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne quickly disputed the report.
"Despite reports, there is no agreement in principle on TPP," Champagne tweeted late Thursday.
Champagne and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland were in the room for Friday's Trudeau-Abe meeting, which lasted more than 50 minutes.
Earlier Friday, Trudeau met Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto for about 20 minutes in the same room.
The men flashed big smiles and shook hands as they exchanged warm greetings.
"We've got lots to talk about," Trudeau said to Pena Nieto as they took their seats.
Later Friday, Trudeau is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Suu Kyi is an honorary Canadian citizen and Nobel laureate who has faced widespread international criticism for not speaking out against allegations of widespread state-led violence against her country's Muslim minority.
This will be their first meeting since a crackdown by security forces that began in late August and has forced more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims into exile in neighbouring Bangladesh.