Donald Trump proposes rejoining Trans-Pacific Partnership

Charlene Craig
April 13, 2018

Donald Trump has deputized economic adviser Larry Kudlow and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to explore re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Farm groups and political leaders from U.S. agricultural states have been most outspoken in denouncing Trump's trade confrontations with Europe and China, which until recently appeared ready to boil over into all-out trade war.

His most hawkish trade advisers, who now dominate his cabinet after high-level departures, have expressed a strong preference for negotiating bilateral agreements, which they say play to United States advantages.

He adds, though, that it would be hard to renegotiate only parts of it, describing the agreement as delicate.

A week after escalating tensions with his threat to impose tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese products, Trump said Thursday the two countries ultimately may end up levying no new tariffs on each other.

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Deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement, "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".

Trump also told lawmakers that he thinks a conversation he had with China's President Xi Jinping has had an impact on USA beef exports to China, where American exporters are now selling "a lot" of beef.

In his remarks on Thursday, Trump cited a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping that the United States president interprets as a signal China is about to open its markets to more USA goods.

Republican senators on the Agricultural Committee who joined President Trump at the White House welcomed the news. Sen.

"The best thing the United States can do to push back against Chinese cheating now is to lead the other 11 Pacific nations that believe in free trade and the rule of law". One Democrat, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, said he was "very open to a new TPP" as long as it had strong labor rights protections and currency provisions.

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Trump is seeking to reassure the lawmakers on proposed China tariffs. Roberts says it would be "good news all throughout farm country". There was a conflation that went on where it was said this is a trade deal with China. "I don't think we can get back into the TPP soon enough", Johnson said when talking to reporters about the trip.

Eleven other Pacific Rim countries signed a sweeping trade agreement last month that came together after the USA pulled out. He said that's shifting work to competitors outside the USA including in Canada and Mexico because they now enjoy a big edge on material costs. Agriculture and the business services industry would see gains, but manufacturing output and employment would decrease slightly under TPP.

The EPA now bans the 15-percent blend, called E15, during the summer because of concerns that it contributes to smog on hot days.

Sasse represents a Midwestern farm state.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said Trump made some "pretty positive statements" about allowing the year-round use of E-15 ethanol, which could help corn growers.

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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.

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