Trump says US re-entering TPP a ‘possibility’

By BLOOMBERG

WASHINGTON • President Donald Trump said he would consider rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) if the US could negotiate more favourable terms.

“TPP was a very bad deal for the US. There’s a possibility we would be going in” if offered better terms, Trump said at a news conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last Friday at the White House.

Turnbull was expected to encourage Trump privately to renew talks on a Pacific trade pact. The US has adopted protectionist trade policies since Trump took office on a nationalist “America First” campaign.

Trump said he prefers “bilateral deals” to multi-nation agreements like the TPP, and pointed to a pact with Australia as an example. The two countries’ “reciprocal trading relationship is a model for other countries”, he said.

A group of 25 Republican senators sent Trump a letter last Friday asking him to “re-engage with the TPP”.

Trump withdrew the US from the 12-nation free trade pact during his first week in office. Earlier this year, the remaining nations announced they struck an alternative agreement without the US.

“We encourage you to work aggressively to secure reforms that would allow the US to join the agreement,” the senators wrote. “Increased economic engagement with the 11 nations currently in TPP has the potential to substantially improve the competitiveness of US businesses, support millions of US jobs, increase US exports, increase wages, fully unleash America’s energy potential and benefit consumers.”