Trudeau government at trade meeting challenged by street protests

The Trudeau government was at a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) summit in Chile yesterday that was met with protests and arrests.

The Associated Press reports, "Representatives from countries that signed the failed TPP began meeting Tuesday [March 14] to discuss a possible new regional trade deal. Senior officials from the 12 countries of the TPP, plus China, Colombia and South Korea, gathered in the seaside resort city of Vina del Mar. It's the first time the nations have met since President Donald Trump withdrew from the US from the deal. Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said the Asia-Pacific meeting is an opportunity to send a strong signal for free trade and against protectionism."

Canada's trade minister François-Philippe Champagne was at this meeting.

Press TV highlights, "Police clashed with protesters and arrested at least 15 of them as they marched through the streets [to the Sheraton Miramar Hotel where the ministers were meeting]. Police officers attempted to block the protesters from approaching the meeting venue and deployed water cannons to disperse the crowd of activists, who were carrying placards reading, 'The TPP threatens human rights'."

That report also notes, "While officials attending the meeting said the conversation was just the beginning of a long and uncertain road, some possibilities being contemplated included redesigning it without the US [the so-called TPP 11 model] or building instead on the proposed Southeast Asian-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership [RCEP, which is being led by China]."

In terms of timelines, Reuters reports, "[New Zealand Trade Minister Todd] McClay expressed optimism that 'there is life still in the TPP' and said he expects the signatory countries to clarify a way ahead 'in a few months'."

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