Trump orders a review of TPP trade pact stance

Aaron Brown
April 13, 2018

In February, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the USA was interested in reentering the trade agreement, but he quickly backed off those comments, making it sound like a deal would not materialize.

He said that at one point in the discussion, the president looked at Kudlow and said, "Go get it done".

One of the White House officials said that while the president prefers negotiating bilateral trade deals, a multilateral deal with the TPP countries would counter Chinese competition and would be faster than negotiating one-on-one with each of the 11 other nations.

During a February news conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump raised the possibility of rejoining TPP if the negotiators offered more favorable terms.

Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, which was highly critical of USA involvement in a pact it viewed as lowering labor and environmental standards, said Trump's reversal on the issue would signal that the president "cannot be trusted on anything", said Lori Wallach, the group's director. "The President has consistently said he would be open to a substantially better deal", she added. "In addition to discussing trade with China, we emphasized the importance of finalizing NAFTA negotiations, expanding the use of E15 year-round and reconsidering the TPP".

Eleven countries signed the agreement last month.

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On Thursday, Trump provided no clues of how the United States would proceed on CPTPP-or on NAFTA. "The deal was awful". Farm state lawmakers have pushed for greater sales of the higher ethanol blend to boost demand for the corn-based fuel. Farm state lawmakers fear that would reduce demand for the biofuels and violate the RFS law.

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

An array of business executives are expressing alarm to federal lawmakers Thursday about the impact that tariffs will have on their business.

China's aggressive response to Mr. Trump's tariffs is aimed squarely at products produced in the American heartland, a region that helped send him to the White House. The U.S. has accused China of unfairly subsidizing targeted sectors and forcing foreign companies to transfer technology in areas like robotics, aerospace and artificial intelligence.

Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey, Jill Colvin, Paul Wiseman and Matthew Daly in Washington and James MacPherson in Bismarck, North Dakota, contributed.

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