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[OTTAWA] After Donald Trump formally withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his Pacific trade focus will turn to Japan and China.
"We have long been proponents of trade," Mr Trudeau told a press conference. "That's why we are busy on multiple trade fronts at the same time."
He noted last year's start of talks with Japan on improving trade ties, while next month Ottawa is scheduled to begin exploratory talks on free trade with China. This comes on the heals of a Canada-EU free trade agreement.
Mr Trudeau sidestepped questions about whether Canada would join a slightly smaller TPP that does not include the United States, after Australia and others signaled they may still pursue an accord.
"We know that increasing our engagement with the growing economies of Asia is an important way to assure good jobs and prosperity for Canada and that's what we're going to continue to do," he said.
In upcoming talks with President Trump, who has called for a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mr Trudeau said he would continue to emphasise their two nations strong historical trade ties.
He pointed specifically to the "extraordinary interconnectedness between the Canadian and American economies."
Mr Trudeau noted that Canada is the number one export market for 35 US states.
"Millions of good, middle-class jobs on both sides of the border depend on the close trade relationship that we have," Mr Trudeau said.
"These are the conversations we're having, and the response we're getting is very much positive in terms of understanding the extent to which the relationship between Canada and the United States is particular and unique in regards to any two countries in the world."