Trump Considers Changing Mind on TPP

Representatives of members of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal pose for an official picture after the signing agreement ceremony in Santiago, Chile March 8, 2018. (Rodrigo Garrido/Reuters)

President Donald Trump is reportedly considering reentering Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations after repeatedly disparaging the agreement during his campaign and abandoning ongoing negotiations as one of his first acts in office.

Trump empowered National Economic Council Chairman Larry Kudlow and U.S. Trade Representative Tony Lighthizer to negotiate America’s entry into the Obama-era trade agreement during a White House meeting on trade and agriculture Thursday, senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) told reporters.

“Clearly it’s a deliberative process and the president is somebody who likes to blue sky a lot, [but] he multiple times reaffirmed the idea that TPP would be easier for us to join now,” Sasse said.

Trump has harshly criticized the TPP as a prime example of the unfair trade agreements that he believes destroyed the American manufacturing sector. “The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country, just a continuing rape of our country,” he said in June 2016.

The U.S. led the way in organizing the agreement under former President Barack Obama but never officially entered due to a lack of congressional approval. One year after announcing the U.S. would pull out of negotiations, Trump opened the possibility of reentering negotiations if he was confident the U.S. could secure more favorable terms.

“I’ll give you a big story. I would do TPP if we made a much better deal than we had,” he told CNBC in January.

Trump’s newfound trade flexibility comes amid escalating tensions with China, spurred on by a series of increasingly aggressive tariff threats.

Republican lawmakers representing agricultural states have voiced concerns that Trump’s protectionist measures will harm farmers — a concern Trump has sidestepped by promising to “take care” of the agricultural community, without providing specifics.

Chinese president Xi Jingping signaled a willingness to acquiesce to some of the Trump administration’s demands during a Tuesday speech in which he committed to lowering auto tariffs and bolstering China’s lax intellectual-property protections. But Chinese officials subsequently pushed back on the notion that Xi’s speech was delivered in response to increased tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Most Popular


What We’ve Learned about Jussie Smollett

It’s been a few weeks since March 26, when all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and the actor declared that his version of events had been proven correct. How’s that going? Smollett’s celebrity defenders have gone quiet. His publicists and lawyers are dodging reporters. The @StandwithJussie ... Read More

Kamala Harris Runs for Queen

I’m going to let you in on a secret about the 2020 presidential contest: Unless unforeseen circumstances lead to a true wave election, the legislative stakes will be extremely low. The odds are heavily stacked against Democrats’ retaking the Senate, and that means that even if a Democrat wins the White House, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Lessons of the Mueller Probe

Editor’s Note: The following is the written testimony submitted by Mr. McCarthy in connection with a hearing earlier today before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on the Mueller Report (specifically, the first volume of the report, which addresses Russia’s interference in the 2016 ... Read More

Why Are the Western Middle Classes So Angry?

What is going on with the unending Brexit drama, the aftershocks of Donald Trump’s election, and the “yellow vests” protests in France? What drives the growing estrangement of southern and eastern Europe from the European Union establishment? What fuels the anti-EU themes of recent European elections and ... Read More
Energy & Environment

The Climate Trap for Democrats

The more the climate debate changes, the more it stays the same. Polls show that the public is worried about climate change, but that doesn’t mean that it is any more ready to bear any burden or pay any price to combat it. If President Donald Trump claws his way to victory again in Pennsylvania and the ... Read More
White House

Sarah Sanders to Resign at End of June

Sarah Huckabee Sanders will resign from her position as White House press secretary at the end of the month, President Trump announced on Twitter Thursday afternoon. Sanders, the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, succeeded Sean ... Read More
Politics & Policy

But Why Is Guatemala Hungry?

I really, really don’t want to be on the “Nicolas Kristof Wrote Something Dumb” beat, but, Jiminy Cricket! Kristof has taken a trip to Guatemala, with a young woman from Arizona State University in tow. “My annual win-a-trip journey,” he writes. Reporting from Guatemala, he discovers that many ... Read More