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

President Donald Trump has called on advisers to look for a way back in on TPP.    
   Chris Kleponis-Pool  Getty Images

President Donald Trump has called on advisers to look for a way back in on TPP. Chris Kleponis-Pool Getty Images

Last month, the other 11 countries that had originally joined the the TPP announced their own agreement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would offer similar economic benefits but would not include the United States.

Sasse was one of several conservative congressmen and governors who appeared at the White House today to talk about trade with Trump, economic adviser Larry Kudlow and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. And a lot of economists say that the ideal way to fight an increasing China and stress it to start its market is through multilateral trade trades such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that make favorable trading terms for both individuals.

Following a meeting between the president, his advisers and members of Congress today, Sasse told reporters that Trump had advanced in his thinking on TPP, which he withdrew from shortly after taking office a year ago. Trump is looking for ways to crack down on what he believes are unfair trade practices in China, but he is having a hard time rallying other countries to backstop his push to impose new tariffs or raise the costs of exports and imports for China.

It's unclear how willing the other 11 countries would be to reopen the agreement and make concessions to lure the United States back, though its economic power would likely be an appeal.

"We should be leading the TPP discussions". A trade war with China could possibly be especially devastating to rural markets, particularly to pig farmers and soybean and corn growers. The U.S. will come up with a good deal and "agriculture will be taken care of", Trump said.

Trump signaled a possible reconsideration of the TPP back in January if its terms were more favorable.

Fischer said that the president also discussed the importance of ethanol and the renegotiation of NAFTA with the president. Sen Ron Johnson, R-Wis., was among a handful of senators who recently visited China to meet with government and business leaders there.

"Withdrawing the threat of tariffs without achieving results would be tantamount to waiving the white flag of trade surrender", said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

Among those who supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership was Mr. Trump's nominee to head the state department, Mike Pompeo, who said during his confirmation hearing on Thursday that the United States needs "to be deeply engaged" in dealing with China.

Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey, Jill Colvin and Matthew Daly in Washington and James MacPherson in Bismarck, North Dakota, contributed.

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