Donald Trump Walks Back Eagerness to Rejoin TPP; Demands 'Better Deal'

The U.S. Capitol is seen at dusk in Washington

The U.S. Capitol is seen at dusk in Washington

"I don't think we can get back into the TPP soon enough", Johnson said when talking to reporters about the trip.

"Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican who represents Nebraska and has been sharply critical of the tariffs, said it was "good news" that the president directed top staff, including US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, to negotiate US entry into TPP". "You'd need a whole renegotiation". "There is no deadline". She says just because he's considering entering negotiations to join the partnership, doesn't mean it will happen.

President Trump said in a late-night tweet Thursday that he will only rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership he backed out of a year ago if the deal is "substantially better than the deal offered to Pres. Obama", after lawmakers on Thursday said the president is considering reentering the deal.

The two countries ultimately might end up levying no new tariffs on each other, he said. "We don't have a trade war".

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The TPP, a trade deal that was to involve 12 countries including the United States, was conceived under former President Barack Obama as a way to counter China's surging power in the region.

Trump's opposition to multinational trade pacts like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the North American Free Trade Agreement was a central part of his campaign for president in 2016 and accounted for some of his appeal to working-class voters.

"The idea was to set a framework that eventually China would have to accommodate", said Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist David Autor.

But Mr. Trump on Thursday insisted he will only rejoin TPP with a better deal. For instance, ranchers in Australia can send beef to Japan more cheaply than ranchers in the US. We have agreements with several of them already.

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But rejoining it could be a complex task.

And then there's the other trillion-dollar question: "How receptive will the other 11 nations be to welcoming the US back?" Trying to wedge any further concessions desired by Trump would be very hard to do, and that's if the nations even want or can provide them. That could complicate talks as Japan maintains that it has already given all the concessions it could, said trade expert William Reinsch of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

A spokeswoman for Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry appeared similarly open to the US rejoining, noting that the TPP was "designed to be an inclusive agreement, which is open to like-minded countries willing and able to meet its high standards".

The Trump administration says it has ordered the Agriculture Department to create a program to help farmers hurt by trade. In the past, he has floated policies that appeared to run counter to his earlier positions, such as cooperating with Democrats on legislation governing immigration and gun rights, then quickly abandoned them.

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The reconsideration of TPP comes after the White House and Mr. Trump announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and specifically tariffs that will impact China.

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