Sasse Says Trump Wants Back in TPP

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Sasse Says Trump Wants Back in TPP
« on: April 13, 2018, 08:45:59 AM »

The Never-Trump Nebraska Republican says it’s the single-best way to combat Chinese trade abuses.

According to Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), one of President Donald Trump’s most vocal critics in the GOP, the president has directed his trade negotiators to begin exploring how the U.S. could re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Last year, the president took the U.S. out of the unpopular then-12-nation agreement that had been negotiated by the Obama administration. Following a meeting Thursday at the White House, in which legislators from agricultural states were allowed to express their concerns about planned tariffs and a potential trade war with China, Sasse said the president may look to re-enter the agreement on better terms.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, includes a number of countries that have felt the brunt of China’s trade abuses for decades. Among them: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Sasse said:

“That cheating needs to be countered. But the single best way we can counter that is by leading all the rule of law nations in the Pacific who would rather be aligned with the U.S. than be aligned with China.”

The senator made it clear he wasn’t speaking for the administration. He suggested U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and others working on foreign trade may want to take a crack at “lots of particulars.”

Earlier this year, the president said he was open to rejoining TPP if he could get a “substantially better deal.”

So far, the revamped TPP approved last month hasn’t been ratified by enough countries to go into effect. So, there may still be an opportunity for the U.S. to come back in.

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