On the heels of bombshell news that President Donald Trump is exploring the possibility of rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the United States is seeking to contain expectations.
Trump tweets that he would only rejoin the agreement if it’s renegotiated to become substantially better for the U.S.
Would only join TPP if the deal were substantially better than the deal offered to Pres. Obama. We already have BILATERAL deals with six of the eleven nations in TPP, and are working to make a deal with the biggest of those nations, Japan, who has hit us hard on trade for years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2018
And the economic adviser he’s tasked to lead the process says it’s still very preliminary.
Larry Kudlow told the Fox Business channel that he just received the assignment Thursday, and that he has no idea if the deal can be improved.
He says the U.S. administration does not have a position on rejoining the agreement — it’s merely exploring the possibility.
There is also skepticism from other countries in the 11-nation deal: Australia’s trade minister says there’s very little appetite for a renegotiation, and Japan’s minister on the file compares the deal to a carefully crafted glass sculpture that would be difficult to change.
Some people, however, would be thrilled to see it reopened: the Canadian auto-parts lobby says it would be pleased to have Trump force changes that would make the agreement friendlier to North American producers.
The Canadian Press