Trump flips on trade pact, weighs rejoining Pacific-Rim deal

Japan minister: Good to have US back in TPP but path of return tough (VIDEO)

President Trump is directing his top economic advisers to negotiate re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership, after pulling out of the trade agreement just one year ago.

"President Trump said he was deputizing Kudlow and Lighthizer to look at reentering TPP negotiations", Sen. In a CNBC interview in January, Trump said, "I would do TPP if we were able to make a substantially better deal". But farm organizations, the Greater Des Moines Partnership and many other groups supported the agreement as critical to opening markets for grain, meat and other products.

Sen. John Thune, the third-highest ranking GOP senator, also said that Trump directed staffers to look into rejoining the TPP.

Sasse released a formal statement following the meeting with the president.

"The best thing the United States can do to push back against Chinese cheating now is to lead the other eleven Pacific nations that believe in free trade and the rule of law", Basse said.

On the campaign trail, Trump regularly derided TPP.

The move would be a reversal for Mr. Trump, who signed an executive order in January 2017 shortly after taking office to signify the US exit from the 12-country Asia Pacific free trade deal.

More news: Why Trump is holding off on withdrawing troops from Syria

Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, urged lawmakers and the administration to stay the course in getting tough on China.

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another disaster, done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country", Trump said in June 2016. Only two months ago he said the TPP was "bad" for the U.S., reiterating his support for bilateral deals instead of multilateral deals.

Roberts said Kudlow and Lighthizer would be working with the Agriculture Committee, calling the move "certainly good news".

The TPP, crafted most extensively by the Obama administration, spanned 12 countries around the Pacific Rim, including Japan, Australia, Mexico, and Canada.

The US president said: "Larry, go get it done", while instructing the official, Sasse told reporters. Now, suddenly, the president who has railed against trade pacts that feature the US and multiple partners is considering joining the TPP, showing again his willingness to change his mind, even when doing so would betray his core beliefs and political base.

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.

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