Trump wants a deal he can't refuse to rejoin TPP

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Last week, the White House announced that Trump had asked the USA foreign trade representative Robert Lighthizer and the economic adviser Larry Kudlow to "take another look at whether or not a better deal (with the TPP) could be negotiated".

However Trump indicated last week he might reopen talks on the trade agreement.

The US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday he is negotiating a bilateral trade agreement with Japan and that his country would only re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) if its member countries offered him a deal he could not refuse.

"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.

"We are doing [Section] 232 [of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962] on steel and aluminum and if we can come to an arrangement on a new deal between the United States and Japan, that would be certainly something we would discuss".

The erratic US President signalled during the 2016 Presidential election campaign that he would adopt a more protectionist stance on free trade deals like the TPP or North American Free Trade Agreement that he felt failed to advantage America.

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Trump soon made clear through Twitter and his top aides that he had little interest in reengaging in the Trans Pacific Partnership trade pact despite what he told the lawmakers.

The tweet comes as Trump is meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Mar-a-Lago, where the two are expected to talk about trade issues. And I don't think the President is yet convinced of that, to be honest.

The US has a massive trade deficit with Japan - anywhere from Dollars 69 billion to USD 100 billion a year. However, David Parker says USA participation is theoretical, because "it's not clear yet how real this is, given the different views to the administration". "I don't think he is", said Kudlow, without ruling it out.

"We don't send so much products because we have trade barriers", he added. But if they offered us a deal I can't refuse on behalf of the USA, I would do it.

"On the USA side, that they are interested in a bilateral deal, we are aware of that", the prime minister said.

Trump's mixed signals have put his economic advisers in an awkward position and have raised the hopes of many Republicans in Congress who have been optimistic that he would seek ways to ease trade tensions.

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