Ben Sasse: Donald Trump Ready to Rejoin TPP to Help American Farmers

Friday, 13 Apr, 2018

"Trump talks tough on trade, but the reality is that since he has been president our trade deficits with China and Mexico have gone up by more than $35 billion".

Trump's move was widely criticized by lawmakers on both sides, since withdrawal from the TPP could make it harder for the compete with China in Asia and the Pacific Rim economic stage.

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 a year ago reworking the deal.

The president says China has consistently treated USA agriculture unfairly and his administration is "changing things with respect to trade". Mike Pompeo, the president's pick to head the US Department of State, said he was unaware of any TPP action during his confirmation hearing.

This is not the first time Trump has suggested USA participation in TPP could be back on the table.

The 11 remaining nations, representing 13% of global output including Japan and Canada, finalized a revised version of the trade pact last month, renaming it the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership or CPTPP.

Withdrawing from the deal was one of Mr Trump's first acts as president, delivering one of his core campaign promises.

In what would be another dramatic reversal, President Donald Trump told farm-state lawmakers Thursday he might sign the United States up for the Trans-Pacific Partnership after all.

During a February news conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump raised the possibility of rejoining TPP if the negotiators offered more favourable terms. The Asian nation said listed US soybeans and pork among its prime targets for proposed retaliatory duties.

However, he "has consistently said he would be open to a substantially better deal, including in his speech in Davos earlier this year". I think the president heard unified voices that we need more trade, not less, and that the farmers and ranchers of America - they don't want welfare payments. Gov. Pete Ricketts was also at the meeting with the President.

The announcement was welcomed by lawmakers from some farming states.

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

Still, it remains to be seen what exactly Trump would want to see in a new TPP, or whether the idea is just a passing fancy for the White House or a serious initiative they plan to launch.