Pacific trade partners 'are not counting on America'

AP  Shizuo Kambayashi

President Donald Trump has instructed his financial group to look at whether or not the USA ought to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a commerce pact from which he withdrew and as soon as described as a "rape of our nation".

"We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents", President Trump said in televised remarks from the White House.

Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan's minister in charge of TPP, also said it would be hard to change the deal, calling it a "balanced one, like fine glassware".

International Trade and Industry minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed says the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership renegotiation will take a long time and alter the balance of benefits for parties.

Trump, who opposed multilateral trade pacts in his election campaign in 2016 and criticised the TPP as a "horrible deal", pulled the US out of the pact in early 2017. China's government has denied President Xi Jinping's promises this week to cut import tariffs on cars and open China's markets wider were intended as an overture to settle a tariff dispute with Washington.

Eleven other countries moved forward with ratifying the trade deal last month.

Australia's trade minister, Steven Ciobo, said that with a deal already in place, he "can't see that all being thrown open to appease the United States". Whoever got Trump to rethink the TPP did the country a great service.

In fairness, Hillary Clinton also flip-flopped on the TPP, which was negotiated in part on her watch as secretary of state. And now it's $500 billion in deficits and a theft of $300 billion in intellectual property. The pact, which was conceived as a counterweight to China's rising economic power in the region, had been negotiated under the Obama administration but never approved by Congress.

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Trump pulled out of the TPP at the start of his term but recently floated the idea of rejoining.

Negotiating a new pact could take years.

The news infuriated labor unions and many working-class supporters of the president.

As he often does, the President started to change gears after hearing complaints from important constituents - in this case, Republican lawmakers who said farmers and other businesses in their states would suffer from his trade approach because they send many of their products overseas. "This whole trade thing has exploded", Mr Kudlow said.

The 11 remaining nations represent 13% of global output and include Japan and Canada.

US President Donald Trump's reconsideration of an agreement he once denounced as a "rape of our country" caught even his closest advisers by surprise.

Several Latin American countries - including Peru and Chile - are among the TPP negotiators, and these two nations also control most of the continent's access to the Pacific Coast, giving the U.S. an additional reason to pursue trade deals, motivated by political and geostrategic considerations.

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