President Trump Gives Conditions on Re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Sergio Conner
April 14, 2018

Comparing the multicountry trade agreement to "a glasswork", Yoshihide Suga, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, cautioned against any efforts to change it to accommodate Trump. He has previously criticized multi-nation pacts, preferring to negotiate one-on-one with other countries. "Lighthizer [who is U.S. Trade Representative] and [National Economic Council] Director Kudlow to take another look at whether or not a better deal could be negotiated".

Aso said he expected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump to discuss the trade deal at their summit meeting next week.

Nations rebuffed by President Trump when he dropped proposals for a multinational trade deal expressed scepticism yesterday about an apparent change of heart by the White House. Still, negotiations with a group of longtime trading partners could hold appeal at a time of increasing tensions with China.

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"Well I think you have to take it seriously but I think there is an enormous chance that this is simply posturing or a tactical decision taken to placate concerned governors and senators from agricultural states that could be affected by China imposing tariffs", said Charles Finny, a Wellington-based trade consultant and a former New Zealand government trade negotiator. 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. "So, it will be hard to take only parts of it and reopen negotiation, or change only parts of it". It could be a way to assuage American farmers and businesses hurt by Chinese tariffs by assuring robust markets for US products in countries that signed onto the deal, like Japan, Australia and South Korea. The pact, which was conceived as a counterweight to China's rising economic power in the region, had been negotiated under the Obama administration but never approved by Congress.

"I think it's very important for people to realize, particularly given this most recent tweet, if there is a negotiation it will not be an easy one". "Japan would like to listen to the U.S.'s view", said Suga, the Japanese official. They finalized a revised version of the trade pact last month, renaming it the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership or CPTPP. "There is a growing demand for US agricultural products around the world, and American farmers and manufacturers should be able to compete in these markets", Ernst said in a statement.

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