Trump Now Signals He's Still Wary of TPP

Glen Norman
April 20, 2018

US President Donald Trump has again turned his back on the Trans-Pacific Partnership after just days ago raising the prospect he might consider rejoining the massive free trade agreement with Australia, Japan and nine other allied nations.

Trump had asked US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and new chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow to examine re-entering the free trade agreement and "take another look at whether or not a better deal could be negotiated" after facing the consequences of starting a trade war with China last month that could impact American exports.

The erratic US President signalled during the 2016 Presidential election campaign that he would adopt a more protectionist stance on free trade deals like the TPP or North American Free Trade Agreement that he felt failed to advantage America.

Trump spent the 2016 presidential campaign ripping into the multi-national pact, saying he could get a better deal for US businesses by negotiating one-on-one with countries in the Pacific Rim.

Mr. Abe said those negotiations have begun.

"While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back into TPP, I don't like the deal for the United States", Trump tweeted following a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Florida. I don't think he's medically unfit to be president.

Meanwhile, Trump continued with a shot at the World Trade Organization, which he said was "bad" to the United States.

But on Wednesday night, the president said he's more interested in a bilateral trade deal with Japan. "I don't think he is", added Kudlow. Lawmakers have been pressing Trump to shift course after escalating trade threats, including China's plan to slap tariffs on soybeans and other US crops. "I much would prefer a bilateral deal". "We believe we are fairly close to a deal, and we're going to be working earnestly to make that a reality for all of our nations", said Pence at a summit plenary session.

The administration's seesawing on policies is far from new, and lawmakers have become used to confusing and contradictory messages from Trump on top issues such as guns and immigration. He is scheduled to attend the Abe-Trump meeting on Wednesday.

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