Lawmakers say Trump exploring rejoining Pacific trade talks

15 April, 2018, 01:05 | Author: Sheila Harris
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Trump has talked about rejoining the deal before, but only if the USA gets substantially better terms - which would take even more diplomatic wrangling to secure.

President Donald Trump instructed a top economic advisor to begin renegotiating the U.S.'s involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), teasing a willingness to rejoin a deal he once characterized as manipulative and uneven.

New Zealand already has a separate trade deal with the world's second-largest economy, China.

"We welcome the U.S. coming back to the table, but I don't see any wholesale appetite for any material renegotiation of [the pact]", Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Steven Ciobo said. "The U.S. standard is 75 years, and the other countries accepted the U.S.in the TPP, but now they've reversed to the standard 50".

Both Democrats and Republicans attacked the deal during the presidential campaign, but many business leaders were disappointed when Trump withdrew from the agreement, arguing that the United States would end up with less favorable terms attempting to broker an array of individual trade pacts and that scrapping the deal would empower China.

Ministers from Japan, Australia and Malaysia welcomed President Donald Trump directing officials to explore returning to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pact he withdrew from shortly after coming to office.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, said he was "very impressed" that Trump had assigned Kudlow and Lighthizer "the task to see if we couldn't take another look at TPP".

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross later said the Trump administration needs to see concrete actions from China to reach a deal. She says mixed signals from the administration could cause problems. For instance, ranchers in Australia can send beef to Japan more cheaply than ranchers in the US.

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

Mr Trump made the commitment while meeting politicians from farming states, who are among those concerned about a trade war, senators say.

Negotiating a new pact could take years.

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations president Richard Trumka said on Twitter that the TPP "was killed because it failed America's workers and it should remain dead".

"You'd need a whole renegotiation", he said.

"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".

The 11 remaining nations represent 13 percent of global output and include Japan and Canada.

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