In an about-face، President Donald Trump has asked his advisors to look into rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal، U.S. senators said on Thursday. Two senators said Trump told Larry Kudlow، head of the White House National Economic Council، and Robert Lighthizer، U.S. trade representative، to look into reentering the historic trade agreement. Anadolu Agency said.
Sen. Pat Roberts، a Republican from Kansas، and Sen. Ben Sasse، a Republican from Nebraska، confirmed Trump's request to reporters at the White House.
Sasse said the president told Kudlow about the deal: "Larry، go get it done."
After calling the deal "a disaster" during his presidential campaign، Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 12-member pact with a memorandum on January 2017 -- three days after his inauguration.
Trump's move was widely criticized by lawmakers on both sides since the withdrawal from the TPP could make it harder for the U.S. to compete with China in Asia and the Pacific Rim economic stage.
Yet، it may be too late for the U.S. to rejoin the deal since the remaining 11 member countries of the agreement signed in March the renamed "Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership". However، it has not been ratified by enough signatories to take effect.
Trump's request follows him imposing new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports، and almost starting a trade war with China through additional tariffs.
He also asked the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to be renegotiated، after blasting it as "the worst deal ever". The first round of NAFTA talks started last August between the U.S.، Canada and Mexico.
Then-President Barack Obama worked on the TPP for two years. Including the U.S.، the member countries represented approximately 40 percent of global trade.