Published: Thu, April 19, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Trump ends plans of rejoining the Trans-Pacific Trade Pact

Trump ends plans of rejoining the Trans-Pacific Trade Pact

Japan - and South Korea - want the U.S.to return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the president claimed last night, but he still doesn't like the deal.

Trump tweets that he would only rejoin the agreement if it's renegotiated to become substantially better for the U.S. The president, who abandoned the 12-nation deal days after entering the White House previous year, now believes that two-country agreements are "far more efficient" and better for American workers.

Further, he announced stiff tariffs on upto $150 billion worth of Chinese imports, before his economic advisers suggested that this might have been a negotiating tactic. Kudlow said any sort of deal "has to be in USA interest for us to take another look and actually go into it", adding that at present, Trump is not interested in rejoining the deal as it stands. It was a signature trade policy of President Barack Obama, but he was unable to secure Congressional support for the deal.

When Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership past year, he proposed a bilateral trade deal with Japan in its place.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had said at the time that while he would encourage the United States to rejoin the TPP, he didn't see "any prospect of that". He said at the time that he would pursue individual deals with the other countries.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is created to open up free trade between the countries involved, making them less reliant on China.

Last week, Trump indicated he might reopen talks on the trade pact.

An Associated Press report says Japanese officials welcome the move if it means Trump is recognizing the importance of the agreement.

After a presidential campaign in which he repeatedly criticized Hillary Clinton for telegraphing her military plans to the enemy, Trump was hardly subtle in the run-up to the latest strike against Syria.

His comments last week came after he unexpectedly indicated the USA may rejoin the pact, asking United States trade representative Robert Lighthizer and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow to take another look at the TPP. "See how terrible WTO will be always to U.S".

"I'm not going to handicap it", he said.

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