US President Donald Trump’s consideration of rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership didn’t last long. Last week, the US President said the country could rejoin TPP if the deal were made ‘substantially better’.
But last night, after dinner with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump took to Twitter to slam the deal and reject Tokyo’s invitation for him to rejoin.
Trump said that he ‘didn’t like the deal for the United States’ because of its contingencies and the potential difficulty of exiting. Instead, he expressed a preference for bilateral trade deals.
While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back into TPP, I don’t like the deal for the United States. Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn’t work. Bilateral deals are far more efficient, profitable and better for OUR workers. Look how bad WTO is to U.S.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2018
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Trump stated that both Japan and South Korea wanted the US to rejoin TPP, although the latter is not currently a member of the trade pact. However, Korean media has reported that South Korea may be considering signing up to the deal.
TPP, originally a 12-member agreement, was a signature trade policy of Obama, although he was unable to get Congress to approve the deal. Trump then withdrew from TPP three days after being inaugurated in January 2017, saying that he was doing so to protect US jobs.
The 11 remaining members of the deal, led by Japan, signed the deal earlier this year, after removing contested provisions such as the one governing intellectual property. In its current form, TPP reduces tariffs between these countries by a total of $10 trillion in GDP, which together represents more than 13% of the global economy.
Member countries said that they would be open to the possibility of the US rejoining TPP, but would not allow a major renegotiation of the pact, which is what Trump was seeking.
Trade talks between Trump and Abe are set to take place today.