April 12, 2018
Washington, D.C.- Emerald Robinson, White House Correspondent
While looming over the decision whether or not to conduct a retaliatory military strike on Syria, the president publicly focused on trade issues sitting down with elected officials from rural states to talk about better trade deals for farmers. In the face of potential Chinese tariffs, the president is instructing two of his top aides to take a second look at the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.
President Trump often criticized the TPP on the campaign trail and ultimately decided to withdraw from the deal in 2017 following his inauguration. Now the president is asking new Economic Council Advisor Larry Kudlow and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to look at a possible re-etnry for the United States into the TPP as a way of putting pressure on China by opening up other markets.
Deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement, “Last year, the President kept his promise to end the TPP deal negotiated by the Obama Administration because it was unfair to American workers and farmers. The President has consistently said he would be open to a substantially better deal, including in his speech in Davos earlier this year. To that end, he has asked Amb. Lighthizer and Director Kudlow to take another look at whether or not a better deal could be negotiated.
The White House also included a quote from the president’s speech in Davos at the World Economic Forum when the president indicated that he was open to negotiating beneficial trade, including the TPP. “As I have said, the United States is prepared to negotiate mutually beneficial, bilateral trade agreements with all countries. This will include the countries in TPP, which are very important. We have agreements with several of them already. We would consider negotiating with the rest, either individually, or perhaps as a group, if it is in the interests of all.”
Republican senators on the Agricultural Committee who joined President Trump at the White House welcomed the news. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, said in a statement after the meeting, “The best thing the United States can do to push back against Chinese cheating now is to lead the other eleven Pacific nations that believe in free trade and the rule of law.”