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International relations

Canadian and Japanese leaders tout benefits of Pacific trade deal

Trudeau and Abe pledge to expand the 11-nation trade bloc

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks towards Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a news conference.   © Reuters

OTTAWA (Reuters) -- The leaders of Canada and Japan on Sunday touted the benefits of a Pacific trade deal that U.S. President Donald Trump walked away from and said the pact should serve as a model for future agreements.

The landmark 11-country trade deal, a revamped version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), came into force last December. It does not include the United States, which pulled out of talks on the initial TPP in 2017.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said exports of some beef products from Canada to Japan had increased nearly threefold under the deal, formally known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

"(This deal) has benefited tremendously Canadian citizens, Japanese citizens and businesses and indeed people throughout the region," he told a news conference after talks with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"(That) stands in stark contrast with the United States withdrawal ... continuing to move forward on freer more open trade, according to the rules we can all agree on, is something we need more in the world," he said.

Trump, whose administration is working on a bilateral free trade deal with Japan, said on Friday after meeting Abe that an agreement could be reached next month. Both men, however, made clear they differed in some areas with Trump citing Japanese tariffs on American agricultural products and Abe bringing up U.S. tariffs on Japanese autos.

Abe said the CPTPP "should be a model going forward," describing it as a meaningful way "to disseminate a 21st century type of free and fair rules-based (trade)."

Abe, speaking through an interpreter, told the news conference that Canada and Japan would work to expand the number of nations inside the CPTPP.

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