WASHINGTON – Canada would seek greater access to the domestic auto market if bilateral negotiations were held on allowing Japan into the Trans-Pacific Partnership initiative, a former senior official of the Canadian government said.
Noting that Tokyo will have to obtain Canada’s consent to participate in the free-trade talks once it becomes an official member, the ex-official stressed Thursday that Ottawa has a considerable interest in boosting access to Japan’s car market.
Just “like the U.S., that’s the (major) issue for Canada” concerning Japan’s participation in the TPP negotiations, the official said.
Canada, together with Mexico, is expected to join ongoing discussions on the envisioned regional trading bloc as early as October, after the United States completes its approval procedures.
Ottawa would likely then call on Tokyo to relax its certification procedures for imported vehicles and auto parts because Canada will probably have to lower its tariffs on imported vehicles — which are currently higher than in the United States — under the TPP framework.
Car manufacturing is one of Canada’s major industries and several major auto parts makers play a key role in its economy, including Magna International Inc.
But the former official still voiced his support for Japan’s participation in the TPP talks, saying it is “critically important” to expand the economic scale of the regional trading bloc, which is being led by the U.S.