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Warkentin hopeful TPP can move forward without U.S.

President Donald Trump has formally pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Obama negotiated the 12-nation deal, but it was never ratified. However, Grande Prairie – Mackenzie MP Chris Warkentin says there’s still a possibility it could be changed.

“The fact of the matter is that any deal could be amended; I would hope that would be at least considered and hopefully our trade minister and foreign affairs minister will step forward and consider that and see if that could be a possibility.”

A top adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told CNBC a TPP without the U.S. “would be incredibly difficult, but we do have a window until 2018, when the treaty needs to be ratified.” Warkentin admits some countries could be hard to convince.

“Obviously for many of these countries, access to the American economy is a significant pull for the deal. It’s going to require some serious political will and some serious political pressure by our own Canadian government in order for us to proceed with this deal without the United States.”

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Warkentin is also concerned that the two countries have gone without a new softwood lumber agreement for more than a year now. He says he’s hearing Trump’s administration may be reluctant to renegotiate.

“I’m worried about the deal when it comes to the softwood lumber agreement, but NAFTA is far more complex and for more important to the country in terms of its overarching benefit for the entire country. I’m very worried if that gets reopened; I don’t think that it’s in Canada’s best interest to do so.”

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is expected to meet with Justin Trudeau and his cabinet Tuesday to discuss trade.

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