Farm state lawmakers say President Donald Trump has asked top administration officials to look into rejoining talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from which the US withdrew previous year, while the president says he's pressing China to treat the USA fairly.
Trump gave the new orders to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow during a meeting with lawmakers and governors on trade issues, according to two GOP senators in attendance.
"He multiple times reaffirmed the point that TPP might be easier to join now", Sasse said Thursday.
"Eleven other Pacific Rim countries signed a sweeping trade agreement last month that came together after the USA pulled out".
Trump is seeking to reassure the lawmakers on proposed China tariffs.
As tensions rise with China over tariffs, it looks like the president might be having second thoughts. Only two months ago he said the TPP was "bad" for the United States, reiterating his support for bilateral deals instead of multilateral deals. "China is a bunch of cheaters and the best way to push back on their cheating would be to be leading all these other rule-of-law nations in the Pacific that would rather be aligned with the United States than with China".
Trump then told Lighthizer and Kudlow to "take a look at getting us back into that agreement, on our terms of course", Thune said.
The move could mark the beginning of a stunning shift for Trump, who railed against the Trans-Pacific Partnership during the campaign and made withdrawal from the pact a priority during his first week in office. It's a harsh word - it's a rape of our country. Sasse isn't sure whether Trump would actually reverse on the trade deal, but Politico reports that the president is hearing advice to reconsider the deal. It's not clear what a better deal would look like or how the United States intends on renegotiating its way in. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said Thursday after meeting with Trump at the White House. It would be aimed at opening U.S. farmers to more overseas markets. He repeatedly criticized the agreement, calling it a "horrible" deal and a "disaster".