In a surprising about face, President Donald Trump is apparently considering reversing one of his first decisions on trade — scuttling the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Denouncing and walking away from TPP with a sharp dig at former President Barack Obama was one of Trump’s first pronouncements after his inauguration as President in January 2017. While support for TPP was mixed, with some companies supporting and others opposing it, it did include provisions that would have benefited the global auto industry.
Trump’s decision on the TPP helped set the stage for the assault on NAFTA.
However, Trump, under pressure from farm state Republicans, who are becoming increasingly concerned about the potential economic and political fallout of tariffs and a trans Pacific trade war with China, signaled he was prepared to reverse his decision and rejoin the TPP discussions.
(GOP flustered by Trump Administration on trade issues. Click Here for the story.)
Trump’s pronouncement came during a meeting with Republican Congressmen from the Midwest and Texas, worried about the impact of Trump’s policies on farmers, according to the New York Times.
During the Presidential campaign in 2016, Trump had roundly denounced the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he described as “another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country,”
“This is done by wealthy people that want to take advantage of us and that want to sign another partnership.” So strongly did he believe that the TPP was a terrible deal for the U.S. that he withdrew from it on his fourth day in office,” he said.
(Click Here for more about NAFTA talks likely to resume in May.)
The Pacific Rim trade deal was intended to counter China’s influence throughout the Pacific Basin.
Trump has also been opposed to a multi-lateral approach to trade deals, saying he prefers bi-lateral deals in which the U.S. seemingly has more leverage.
Larry Kudlow, Trump’s newly appointed chief economic adviser, has been given the task of seeing if it’s possible to rejoin the discussions on TPP. Kudlow has long been an advocate of free-trade measures.
(To see more about Trump’s original stance on TPP, Click Here.)
Meanwhile, negotiations around NAFTA are scheduled to resume next month. The outlook for the discussions remains uncertain.