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Internal docs suggest Trudeau wants China blocked from Pacific Rim trade deal

China has been trying since 2019 to join the partnership
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to reporters as he arrives for a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

An internal document suggests Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants China kept out of a Pacific Rim trade bloc, despite the Liberals publicly insisting it would welcome anyone who meets the trade deal’s standards.

China has been trying since 2019 to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade bloc that includes Canada and multiple countries in Asia and Latin America.

Trade Minister Mary Ng reiterated Canada’s stance on China joining the group last week, saying Ottawa would be open to the idea if Beijing meets labour and environmental standards.

But a document The Canadian Press obtained through an access-to-information request attributes Trudeau as saying that high standards are helpful as they make it make it too hard for China to join the group.

His comments stem from an internal summary of a call Trudeau held last summer with former U.K. prime minister Liz Truss, shortly after she started her term.

The Chinese embassy in Ottawa says Beijing wants to join the CPTPP as part of its economic recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that its membership in the group would be of “tremendous” benefit to Canada.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press

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