Into D.C. parachuted President Trump in 2017, promising a bold new approach to trade that would finally put America first.
Who knows if this was merely another please-the-crowd attempt that will vanish like a tweet. Lighthizer and Director Kudlow to take another look at whether or not a better deal could be negotiated.
GOP senators and governors from the Midwest, who met with Trump over concerns that any trade war with China would hurt US agriculture, said they told the president that partnering with other Asian countries would put pressure on the Chinese to end unfair trade practices.
Raymond James Washington policy analyst Ed Mills discusses how USA companies are being affected by President Trump's 25% tariff on steel.
In reality, however, Trump's decision to rethink the TPP is a direct effect of his showdown with China.
Negotiated under a veil of strictly-enforced secrecy by the Obama administration and so-called trade advisory committees stocked with corporate representatives, the TPP was never really even about establishing conditions for "free trade", as numerous analysts have noted.
Although many approached his remarks with skepticism. rejoining TPP would mark a reversal on the tenants that Trump ran under which accounted for some of the working class appeal for votes stating that the deals ripped of the USA and hurt American workers and manufacturing.
Since the USA withdrew from the TPP talks, the other 11 countries have forged ahead with their own agreement, and in the process eliminated chapters on investment, government procurement and intellectual property that were key planks of Washington's demands. It would be aimed at opening USA farmers to more overseas markets. Trump's rejection of the deal has rattled allies and raised questions at home about whether protectionism will impede US economic growth.
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Trump clearly regarded the remarks as conciliatory, and said again Thursday that it was a "good speech".
During a February news conference with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Trump raised the possibility of re-joining TPP if the negotiators offered more favourable terms.
The lawmakers also told the president that joining TPP would allow the United States to counter China's trade "cheating" by "leading" Asian countries that would rather be aligned with Washington than Beijing.
Trump has been highly critical of the 2016 trade deal, especially when he was a presidential candidate.
Kennedy says what was presented as a tariff on foreign steel has effectively become a tax on USA manufactures such as his company.
The US hasn't announced a date it intends to impose tariffs on an initial list of $50 billion in Chinese goods.
It also could help Trump at the negotiating table before China retaliates.
An agreement could be completed within a few weeks or five months, he said, adding "I don't care". Japan was among the 11 other countries that signed it last month without the U.S.