But when 11 remaining countries inked the final deal - now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) - in March, the agreement lacked numerous provisions USA negotiators had long argued to see included. "We'll put a team together, but we haven't even done-I mean, it just happened a couple of hours ago", said Larry Kudlow, Trump's top economic adviser. During the campaign, he had criticized the agreement, calling it a product of the special interests that was a "continuing rape" of the country. "So, the United States would have the ability to influence this important alliance".
The Trans Pacific Partnership, a deal Trump once described as a "rape of our country", is a multicountry trade agreement in which the US participated under President Obama. Still, negotiations with a group of longtime trading partners could hold appeal at a time of increasing tensions with China.
Republican lawmakers on the Capitol Hill praised the president's reconsideration of the trade agreement as China continues to target and increase tariffs on farm products from the center of the United States.
"I have to believe President Xi [Jinping] is smiling all the way to regional domination as a result of our pulling out of TPP".
Ministers from Japan, Australia and Malaysia had welcomed President Donald Trump directing officials to explore returning to the TPP, but they also cautioned against making any significant changes. With congressional elections later this year, he now faces pressure from some Republican lawmakers anxious that his protectionist policies could spiral into a trade war with China that would hit rural America. China has responded to Trump's threat of tariffs on as much as $150 billion worth of Chinese goods by placing its own tariffs on US pork and threatening taxes on soybeans, sorghum, corn and beef.
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Deputy White House press secretary Lindsay Walters pushed back on the notion that Mr Trump was reversing his promises. Almost two-thirds of US soybean exports go to China. Trump pulled out of the deal as one of his first acts as president previous year. Trade advisers say the department could use a program known as the Commodity Credit Corp.to purchase potentially billions of dollars of crops from American farmers harmed by tariffs. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.
They finalized a revised version of the trade pact last month, renaming it the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership or CPTPP.
Among those who supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership was Trump's nominee to head the State Department, Mike Pompeo, who said during his confirmation hearing Thursday that the United States needs "to be deeply engaged" in dealing with China.
Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, who also attended the meeting, said afterwards that she had urged the President to reconsider negotiating the TPP because of concerns by constituents about the tariffs.