Trump wants back into Pacific trade deal, say GOP senators

AP  Shizuo Kambayashi

AP Shizuo Kambayashi

Trump has talked about rejoining the deal before, but only if the US gets substantially better terms - which would take even more diplomatic wrangling to secure.

President Donald Trump has asked trade officials to explore the possibility of the United States rejoining negotiations on the Pacific Rim agreement after he pulled out previous year as part of his "America first" agenda. "We already have BILATERAL deals with six of the eleven nations in TPP, and are working to make a deal with the biggest of those nations, Japan, who has hit us hard on trade for years!" We have agreements with several of them already.

The original TPP is now the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership and involves the other 11 TPP countries.

"As I've been saying for a decade now: The way to economically box out China in a competitive way is to enter into free trade agreements with its neighbors, and that's what TPP would have done", he said. "I think they want to".

The remarks were another conciliatory signal from the administration following tit-for-tat tariffs proposals from the world's largest two economies that rattled markets.

When President Trump ordered the USA withdrawal from TPP trade negotiations in January 2017, the deal was widely seen as catering to American interests, given that US negotiators helped shape the deal since 2008.

President Donald Trump is making an about-face on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The S&P 500 Index closed up 0.8% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added nearly 300 points, or 1.2%, as investors assessed the changing trade dynamics. The pact, which was conceived as a counterweight to China's rising economic power in the region, had been negotiated under the Obama administration but never approved by Congress. For instance, ranchers in Australia can send beef to Japan more cheaply than ranchers in the US.

Nebraska Republican Sen, Ben Sasse, who was part of a group of elected officials who met with the president to talk trade on Thursday, said economic adviser Larry Kudlow will lead the TPP effort.

Trump withdrew the USA from the TPP during his first week in office.

TPP had broad support among many farmers, as it was aimed at cutting trade barriers, such as tariffs, and opening new markets for exports and imports.

Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown, said he was "very open to a new TPP" as long as it had strong labor rights protections and currency provisions. "This whole trade thing has exploded", Mr Kudlow said.

The 11 remaining nations represent 13% of global output and include Japan and Canada.

"Last year, the President kept his promise to end the TPP deal negotiated by the Obama Administration because it was unfair to American workers and farmers", White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said Thursday afternoon.

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