By Barry Eitel
SAN FRANCISO (AA) – President Donald Trump said Thursday he would reconsider joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement if the U.S. received a “better deal”.
Trump arrived Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and said in an interview with CNBC that he has not completely thrown away the idea of joining the trade pact between the 11 Pacific Rim nations.
“I would do TPP, if we made a much better deal than we had,” he said.
The agreement was signed in early 2016 by the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. As one of his first acts as president in January of 2017, though, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement.
Trump said at the time that the deal hurt job growth in the U.S. and announced that he was focused on making bilateral trade deals between the U.S. and other nations.
Because of the withdrawal, ratification of the TPP became almost impossible, and the 11 remaining nations have begun negotiations on a new agreement called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Since Trump’s decision last year, China, which was not part of the TPP, has been emboldened to push a proposed trade agreement between many of the TPP members.
Trump’s now apparent backpedaling on the TPP might mean the agreement, which was first proposed in 2008, might still have life in it.
“I would do TPP if we were able to make a substantially better deal,” Trump repeated. “The deal was terrible, the way it was structured was terrible. If we did a substantially better deal, I would be open to TPP.”
Also during the CNBC interview, Trump said comments made at Davos a day earlier by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about how the White House desires a weaker dollar were misinterpreted.
"The dollar is going to get stronger and stronger, and ultimately, I want to see a strong dollar,” Trump said.
Mnuchin’s comments caused the value of the dollar to drop to its lowest point since late 2014 and boost the value of the Euro, Japanese yen and British pound.