Canada: A Post-U.S. TPP? Taking Stock And Looking Ahead

Last Updated: June 30 2017
Article by Jesse Goldman and Sabrina Bandali

May 2017 may have been a turning point for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement entering into force. After the U.S. withdrawal from the Agreement in January 2017, the remaining TPP-11 countries openly questioned whether there remained a sufficient foundation to maintain the multi-faceted trade liberalization consensus that took seven years to negotiate, largely under U.S. leadership. After meetings in May 2017, it appears that there is a new willingness among the major economies in the TPP-11 to stay the course without U.S. involvement.

On January 23, 2017, President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum pulling the U.S. out of the TPP. Under the TPP's current terms requiring ratification by at least six original signatories representing 85 percent of the combined GDP of the original signatories, it cannot enter into force unless the U.S. ratifies it1—so the U.S. withdrawal means that the remaining 11 TPP partners (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam) must determine if they want to keep the deal alive, and if so, in what form. 

The remaining signatories were initially very pessimistic about the prospects for the TPP without the U.S. However, in recent months there has been a shift in tone from signatory countries, with some optimism for the prospects of proceeding with the remaining TPP-11. Senior trade officials met in Toronto in early May, followed by a meeting between ministers from the TPP-11 countries on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Hanoi.

At the end of the Hanoi meeting, the TPP-11 issued a joint ministerial statement on May 21 that reaffirmed "the balanced outcome and the strategic and economic significance" of the deal. The ministerial statement announced the TPP-11's intentions to begin a process to determine the possible options to bring the Agreement into force "expeditiously", requiring senior trade officials to complete their assessment of options by the November 2017 APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in Vietnam. Senior trade officials will meet in Japan in July to continue with this work. 

While it is probable that some signatories may seek to use this process to re-open aspects of the negotiated text, key economies—Japan, Australia and New Zealand—have stated their desire, or even the necessity to proceed without re-opening negotiations. This is noteworthy because the final negotiated text of the TPP-12 required controversial compromises from major economies, such as requiring Japan to be more open to agricultural imports by cutting tariffs and increasing import quotas on specific products.

In part, the leadership and support for the TPP-11 now being shown by Japan may reflect a higher-level strategic interest in using the TPP to counter China's leadership in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) process, or to establish a baseline of commitments that will set the standard for bilateral or other plurilateral agreements. Japan has stated that it is not willing to offer anything bilaterally that goes beyond what was negotiated plurilaterally ( Interview with Inside US Trade, subscription required). Japan's attention appears to be directed at TPP-11, rather than a possible U.S.-Japan bilateral treaty, notwithstanding the U.S. expressed desire for bilateral treaty negotiations. 

Although Canada and Mexico have not clearly stated that they are opposed to renegotiation, their ultimate positions on the TPP will likely be shaped by the NAFTA renegotiation process. Ironically, the U.S. has signaled that the TPP offers a starting point for NAFTA discussions, so Canada and Mexico may not want to open up to more compromises by renegotiating TPP. In addition, a study by the Canada West Foundation suggests that Canada and Mexico would gain significantly from a TPP-11 deal without the U.S.: exports to TPP countries would increase 4.7 percent for Canada (vs. 0.36 percent under TPP-12) and 3.12 percent for Mexico (vs. 0.05 percent under TPP-12).

For some signatories, their key strategic priority was the access to the U.S. economy that the TPP promised, which now appears to be off the table. The lack of this significant benefit may jeopardize the willingness of countries, such as Vietnam, to undertake the regulatory changes required by the Agreement, and may dissuade, or at least make it less urgent, for Indonesia and potentially South Korea to consider joining the TPP. South Korea already has bilateral trade agreements with a number of TPP-11 members, and Indonesia's Vice-President, Jusuf Kalla, told media sources that, absent the U.S, Indonesia is less interested in the TPP. By contrast, other regional economies, such as Thailand, have signaled that they remain interested in the value of the TPP and would like to join, subject to the agreement's final consensus about issues that are sensitive for its domestic economy. 

Japan's State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kentaro Sonoura, has called renegotiation a "Pandora's box" that the TPP-11 should not open given the timeframe they have set to explore options for the Agreement to enter into force ( Interview with Inside US Trade, subscription required). New Zealand's Trade Minister, Todd McClay, described the strategic value of the TPP as being that it establishes a "common set of rules across the Asia-Pacific", which remains important regardless of the shifts in strategic interests among parties due to the U.S. withdrawal ( Interview with Inside US Trade, subscription required).

The TPP-11 are keeping the door open to expand the TPP to allow non-signatory countries to join and also referenced wanting to determine "how to facilitate membership for the original signatories", i.e., including the United States. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer clarified that the U.S. is not going to join the TPP, but will be pursuing "a series of bilateral agreements with willing partners" in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Pursuing the TPP without the U.S. is in keeping with the new foreign policy priorities announced by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, in her address to Parliament on June 6. As Minister Freeland put it, "[t]he fact that our friend and ally [the U.S.] has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership, puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course. For Canada that course must be the renewal, indeed the strengthening, of the postwar multilateral order." Despite indications to the contrary, it appears that order may involve a version of the TPP after all.


1 The TPP provides three ways that the Agreement can enter into force, but all require participation by the U.S. The three mechanisms for entry into force are: (i) the TPP comes into force by default 60 days after the date on which all original signatories have ratified it; (ii) if not all original signatories have ratified it within two years, it enters into force 60 days after the expiry of the two year period if at least six of the original signatories representing at least 85 percent of the combined GDP of the original signatories in 2013 have ratified the Agreement; or (iii) if the threshold in (ii) has not been met by the expiry of the two-year period, then the Agreement enters into force 60 days after the threshold is met, whenever that may be. Due to its status as an original signatory and the size of its economy, U.S. ratification would be required for any of these mechanisms to trigger entry into force.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Jesse Goldman
In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions