US President Donald Trump said that he will reconsider the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) if there is a deal “substantially better” than the one offered to President Barack Obama.
The TPP is a free trade agreement with mainly Asia-Pacific nations, including Japan, Australia, Singapore and Vietnam to cut tariffs and counter China’s influence in the region.
Trump heavily criticized the trade pact during his 2016 presidential campaign. He said the agreement would “undermine” the U.S. economy and its independence and said it was a potential “disaster”.
Shortly after being sworn in as president, Trump pulled the US out of the 12-nation pact and the agreement could not enter into force.
However, on Friday morning Trump tweeted: “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!”
According to The Washington Post, Trump ordered top administration officials to look at rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Staff were ordered to evaluate rejoining “on our terms”.
Australia and Japan welcome the renewed interest from the US President
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was quoted by The Australian as saying:
“Isn’t it good that President Trump is looking at the TPP and you know if I had taken Bill Shorten’s advice and walked away from the TPP when America did there would be nothing for America to consider returning to,”
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso reportedly said: “If it’s true, I would welcome it”.