By Barbara Olejnik
Poultry Times staff
GAINESVILLE, Ga. — President Trump has indicated he might be willing for the U.S. to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) if the U.S. were able to make a “substantially better deal.”
The president withdrew the U.S. from TPP negotiations shortly after taking office. Trump claimed the trade pact would result in a loss of American jobs and cause manufacturing companies to move overseas.
However, in a White House meeting April 12, the president gave new order to U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow to take a look at rejoining the TPP.
“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 White House said in a statement. The president assigned his top trade advisors “take another look at whether or not a better deal could be negotiated.”
Trump later 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, are working to make a deal with the biggest of those nations, Japan, who has hit us hard on trade for years!”
This latest move, however, is not the first time President Trump has suggested the U.S. might rejoin the TPP trade agreement.
In an address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump said: “As I have said, the United States is prepared to negotiate mutually beneficial, bilateral trade agreements with all countries. This will include countries in TPP, which are very important. We would consider negotiating with the rest, whether individually or perhaps as a group if it is in the interest of all.”
The TPP, which had been negotiated by President Barack Obama’s administration, would have established a trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other countries, including Pacific Rim nations. However, the agreement was never ratified by the U.S.
Supporters of the trade agreement had said the TPP would eliminate more than 18,000 taxes that the 11 countries place on U.S. exported products.
The original TPP negotiations included 11 other countries in addition to the U.S. — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
The group has an annual gross domestic product of nearly $28 trillion that represents roughly 40 percent of global GNP and one-third of world trade.
Following the U.S. withdrawal from TPP negotiations, the remaining 11 nations signed a mutual trade pact and renamed it the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The revised agreement among the 11 nations dropped 20 original proposals that had been sought by the U.S. as part of its participation in the TPP.
U.S. re-entry into the TPP might involve the need for the countries to start negotiations from scratch. However, some countries might require the U.S. to accept the existing agreement in order to rejoin the trade pact.
The Meat Import Council of America noted that “Meat industry organizations including the North American Meat Institute, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the U.S. Meat Export Federation pushed hard for TPP passage before and after the election in November. Asia is seen as a growth market for their products.”
U.S. Meat Export Federation President Dan Halstrom has said, “Rejoining TPP would strengthen U.S. economic ties with many of the other leading trading countries in the Asia Pacific region — which would benefit the U.S. beef, pork and lamb industries.”
Barry Carpenter, CEO of the North American Meat Institute said his group has long supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership and was encouraged that the U.S. may reconsider the decision to withdraw from the TPP.