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New Zealand Says TPP Without the US Could Move Forward as Soon as November

New Zealand wants to go ahead with a TPP 11 and the deal could be reached before the end of the year.

Despite the United States’ withdrawal from the regional Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement under President Trump’s leadership, the remaining 11 Pacific nations that spent seven years negotiating the trade deal don’t want to see it just fall by the wayside.

On Thursday, New Zealand trade minister Todd McClay said there’s a good chance the TPP group minus the U.S. will still sign a free trade deal quickly and with only slight changes.

“We think it’s important to economic growth, and we are signaling how committed we are as a government to it,” the Associated Press reported McClay as saying. “We now expect a decision to be put before TPP leaders in November of this year.”

Japan has also been keen to keep TPP going and has itself been pushing to advance the trade agreement with 11 participating nations. Leaders from the TPP 11 met last month in Japan to continue talks.

Though McClay has high hopes for the agreement’s quick advancement, there are still many rivers to cross. For one, New Zealand has elections coming up in September and, according to AP, if the opposition Labour Party wins, its leaders intend to renegotiate some of the provisions. An article in the New Zealand Herald said if the Labour Party wins, New Zealand may even withdraw from the TPP and not take an active role in carrying the deal forward.

Either way, the remaining nations will have to restructure the deal as certain existing provisions require U.S. participation, but McClay is still hopeful about TPP’s future.

[Read more about what it will take to do a TPP 11: What’s the Likelihood that TPP Actually Carries on Without US?]

“It’s my expectation that the deal is now more likely to happen than not,” McClay told AP.