Back to the TPP?

Trump suggests US might seek to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Via the NYT:  Trump Proposes Rejoining Trans-Pacific Partnership.

President Trump, in a sharp reversal, told a gathering of farm state lawmakers and governors on Thursday morning that the United States was looking into rejoining a multicountry trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal he pulled out of days after assuming the presidency.

Mr. Trump’s reconsideration of an agreement he once denounced as a “rape of our country” caught even his closest advisers by surprise and came as his administration faces stiff pushback from Republican lawmakers, farmers and other businesses concerned that the president’s threat of tariffs and other trade barriers will hurt them economically.

Hmm.  One might come to the conclusion that he doesn’t know what he is doing.

rejoining it could be a complex task. The remaining countries, like Japan, moved ahead without the United States, and spent months renegotiating a pact before finally agreeing to a sweeping multinational deal this year. Mr. Trump, who has demanded that any such deal benefit the United States, is unlikely to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership without further concessions for what he has criticized as a terrible agreement. That could complicate talks, since Japan maintains that it has already given all the concessions it could, said William A. Reinsch, a trade expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Indeed. Everyone knows that the best negotiators like to wait until a multi-party deal is complete to try and gain favorable conditions.  As WaPo‘s write-up noted:

When the president last year announced he was quitting the deal, the other TPP countries suspended 20 provisions in the original accord and announced a new deal, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The provisions, including key intellectual property protections such as those involving biological drugs, were measures the United States had demanded in return for granting access to its market.

U.S. negotiating partners might expect the United States to “pay for” restoring those provisions at this point, Cutler said.

“They do want us back in. But the question is: At what price?” Cutler said.

And yes, this story deserves more than snark, although I am not sure that POTUS does on this topic.

More later, I suspect.

FILED UNDER: International Trade, The Presidency, US Politics, , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. gVOR08 says:

    I’m not sure there’s any more to this story than that Trump heard farmers, who are largely part of his base, were unhappy about all this tariff and trade war talk. So he’s lying about doing something for farmers. TPP. I’ll tell them I’m going to do TPP to keep up their exports, or whatever it is they want. Yeah, that’s the ticket. TPP. That’ll show them I care.

  2. CSK says:

    He had no idea what TPP was when he pulled out of it. He has no idea what it is now that he wants to get back into it.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Exactly. He is completely incapable of doing his job. It’s like watching a Labrador Retriever trying to do algebra.

  4. SenyorDave says:

    Normally I would think that there would be certain conditions imposed for the US to rejoin the TPP. But that assumes a fact clearly not in evidence: that the US is an honest negotiating partner. Since Trump’s word is meaningless (something he pretty much brags about since it shows what a great businessman he is), how can the country he leads be believed?

  5. Kathy says:

    This one’s rather easy: “F**k off, Donnie. You had your chance and you blew it.”

    Seriously, there are many good reasons to let America in, but not when Trump the Moron is in charge. Who’s to say he won’t pull out again? Or refuse to implement it until Syria renounces chemical weapons?

  6. CSK says:

    Slightly OT, but Trump is raving like a maniac about Comey on Twitter.

  7. Stormy Dragon says:

    I love how he thinks the other 11 countries, who went ahead without the US and have completed a deal of their own, are going to suddenly reopen negotiations just because he wants them to.

  8. Franklin says:

    Too bad the agreement doesn’t have one more word in it, then maybe I could sing the title of this post.

  9. HarvardLaw92 says:


    It’s fun to watch the senile when they finally lose it, no? 🙂

  10. al-Ameda says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Exactly. He is completely incapable of doing his job. It’s like watching a Labrador Retriever trying to do algebra.

    (1) I assume that you meant no disrespect to Labradors (except Raul) ?

    (2) Farmers, and congressional allies, like Senator Grassley, came to him and said: “Mr. President, we were with you when: You insulted military war heroes; when you pushed forward with that tax cut that benefited the top 1% and widened the deficit to $1 trillion; you admitted to sexually harassing many many women; you paid a porn star to be silent about an affair that you say never happened; you threatened to (or actually) abrogated our trade agreements with partners and allies …. but when it affects us, instead of undeserving coastal elites …. you’ve gone too far.”

  11. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: Nonsense! A Labrador Retriever is FAR more likely to be able to do algebra that Trump is to be President. Labs are relatively smart among dogs.

  12. grumpy realist says:

    @SenyorDave: probably why the present signatories aren’t jumping to let the US back in,