Trump weighs rejoining Trans-Pacific Partnership amid trade dispute with China

Michele Moreno
April 13, 2018

As a newly minted president, he pulled the USA out of the 12-nation trade deal, proclaiming the move was "a great thing for the American worker".

In early March, the 11 other nations signed the renamed Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership in Chile after spending the better part of the previous year reworking the deal.

But Mr. Trump has also hinted at re-entering the deal if he can secure a "substantially better deal" for the U.S.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the chairman of the Senate agriculture, nutrition and forestry committee, said he was "very impressed" that Trump had assigned Kudlow and Lighthizer "the task to see if we couldn't take another look at TPP". Including the USA, the member countries represented approximately 40 percent of global trade.

The president has previously slammed the deal as a potential "disaster".

Beijing has threatened to impose tariffs on soybeans and other US crops in response to Trump's vows to raise tariffs against Chinese goods.

But entering into a new TPP could unify Trump with other trading partners and put new pressure on Beijing to either allow more imports into China or risk being alienated by other Asian countries, that would now received new trade benefits as part of the deal.

An agreement could be completed within a few weeks or five months, he said, adding "I don't care".

The president is also running into strong pushback from Republican lawmakers, particularly those representing agricultural regions where China's threatened retaliation against USA exports would hit hard. Exports would increase, but imports would increase more.

Politicians, including some from his own party, are anxious that he is leading the USA into a damaging economic battle with China, after levying tariffs on steel and aluminium and threatening taxes on billions more in Chinese goods.

"As I have said, the United States is prepared to negotiate mutually beneficial, bilateral trade agreements with all countries", he said.

Ricketts wrote on Twitter that it was a "great working meeting" with Trump on agriculture, ethanol and trade issues.

The White House meetings came as an array of business executives and trade groups expressed concerns at a congressional hearing about the impact that tariffs will have on their business.

"Withdrawing the threat of tariffs without achieving results would be tantamount to waiving the white flag of trade surrender", said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

Other reports by Insurance News

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