February 24, 2017

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Bowman stresses importance of NAFTA ahead of Trump inauguration

President-elect Donald Trump listens to a question during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)</p>

President-elect Donald Trump listens to a question during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Mayor Brian Bowman said he won’t stand idly by and watch Winnipeg lose jobs if President-elect Donald Trump attempts to make good on his campaign promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Bowman told reporters Wednesday that Winnipeg has a lot to lose if Trump tips the free trade agreement to protect American jobs, adding he supports the Trudeau government’s initiatives to protect the trade deal.

"I want to commend the federal government on its outreach to the (incoming Trump) administration and we’ll certainly be supporting the efforts of the federal government to make sure the free trade agreement is defended and access to the U.S. market is protected," Bowman said during a question-and-answer session with reporters, a weekly event following Bowman's executive policy committee meetings that resumed following the Christmas break at city hall.

"Winnipeg is a trading city. We are a community that relies heavily on the ability to access the U.S. market. One of the things we’ve been following and I will be continuing to follow is the ongoing debate in the U.S. over the free trade agreement."

Bowman said he’s planning to reach out to lawmakers in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, to stress the importance of the value of the trade between the two countries, and particularly the impact any changes to the trade deal might have on Winnipeg firms and those communities.

Bowman said he doesn’t know how many jobs in Winnipeg are tied to trade with the U.S. but said it’s substantial and all Winnipeggers should be concerned about what the future might hold.

"We’ll all have a role to play," Bowman said. "I’ll be adding my voice too and doing what I can to support the efforts and messaging of the federal government."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Read more by Aldo Santin.

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