Trump wants back into Pacific trade deal, say GOP senators

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Trump pulled out of the deal as one of his first acts as president previous year. "So, it will be hard to take only parts of it and reopen negotiation, or change only parts of it".

An early test of the potential for the United States to rejoin could come as soon as next week, when Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister and an ardent champion of the pact, is to meet with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

"Would only join TPP if the deal were substantially better than the deal offered to Pres. Obama", he wrote Thursday. Still, negotiations with a group of longtime trading partners could hold appeal at a time of increasing tensions with China.

Some believe the president's about-face on the deal, as well as a quieting of his threats to withdraw from NAFTA, is fueled by complaints from Republican lawmakers that the impact of his harsh stance on trade and impending tariffs would harm farmers and businesses within their states. Trump has warned that he could levy tariffs on $150 billion in Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to threaten retaliatory measures aimed at American soybeans, airplanes and other products.

The news drew a rebuke from opponents of the multilateral trade pact. Several of the countries might insist that the USA accept the existing agreement as a whole as a requirement for rejoining. It would give the pact a great deal more heft and help position it as an economic counterweight to China, which increasingly dominates the Asia-Pacific region.

"Republicans should not be giving Obama fast-track authority on trade".

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A spokeswoman for Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry appeared similarly open to the USA rejoining, noting that the TPP was "designed to be an inclusive agreement, which is open to like-minded countries willing and able to meet its high standards".

The barriers to a new pact are considerable.

But when 11 remaining countries inked the final deal - now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) - in March, the agreement lacked numerous provisions US negotiators had long argued to see included.

Last week, Mr. Trump insisted the U.S.is not in a trade war, because the trade war is "already lost."

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

The countries party to the CPTPP are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

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