VANCOUVER—When President Donald Trump was sworn into office earlier this year, the Trans-Pacific Partnership seemed all but finished.
As far as the U.S. is concerned, that hasn’t changed, but the 11 other nations involved have not simply given the trade deal up for dead.
With Trump looking inward, Asian nations quickly mobilized the save the agreement this spring following Washington’s official withdrawal.
Talks are still ongoing and Vietnam is looking to discuss the deal with other leaders at next week’s regional summit. Along with Japan, the country is aiming to re-seal the trade agreement between the remaining 11 members while leaving the door open for the U.S. to rejoin later.
The TPP now includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
The trade deal was a source of considerable controversy in Canada when it was signed—but not ratified—early last year. In January 2016, just 32 per cent of Canadians supported the agreement, while 20 per cent were against it, according to the Angus Reid Institute.
Sentiment has since shifted dramatically.
With growing threats against the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canadians are looking at opportunities elsewhere more favourably. 59 per cent of more than 1,500 polled by Angus Reid this October now say they support the TPP. Those opposed account for just 12 per cent, a startling turnaround over the past 20 months.
Canada may have no quick way to wean itself off its trade dependence on the U.S., but 54 per cent say the best route for the Canadian government is to focus on developing closer trade ties with countries in the Pacific Rim. After several rounds of NAFTA talks, just 24 per cent said Canada should focus on securing its U.S. trade interests at the expense of other opportunities overseas, the Angus Reid Institute said.
—With files from The Associated Press