Trump appears to change tune on TPP, again

President Trump appears to once again be shifting his stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) after a White House meeting last week showed possible signs that the U.S. would be re-entering the trade pact. Mr. Trump made the United States' exit from the trade deal one of the first items on his to-do list after taking office. 

Mr. Trump tweeted late Tuesday night that while other international partners like Japan and South Korea would "like" the U.S to re-join the TPP, "I don't like the deal for the United States."

Mr. Trump added: "Too many contingencies and no way to get out of it doesn't work. Bilateral deals are more efficient, profitiable and better for OUR workers. Look how bad WTO is to U.S."

CBS News' Margaret Brennan points out that South Korea is not part of TPP, but has a separate free trade deal with the U.S. known as KORUS. There is speculation the nation could join the TPP but it is not a signatory. 

Mr. Trump's comments come as a sharp shift after Sens. Pat Roberts, of Kansas and Ben Sasse of Nebraska told reporters after a White House meeting on agriculture that Mr. Trump himself had tasked his chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow and the U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer to find a way back into the pact.

Sasse told reporters that during the meeting, Mr. Trump had repeatedly "reaffirmed the point that TPP might be easier for us to join now once the TPP 11 is aligned and we might be 12th party to those negotiations as opposed to the long process that it took to get to TPP."

He said that at one point in the discussion, the president looked at Kudlow and said, "Go get it done."

Kudlow said in a briefing on Tuesday that currently there are "discussions and considerations" on re-entering the TPP,  but "nothing at all concrete" as talks were still in a "pre-preliminary phase."

"We will have to be convinced that it's worth our while. And I don't think the president is yet convinced of that – to be honest. I don't think he is," added Kudlow.

Mr. Trump had signed an executive order in January 2017 shortly after taking office to signify the U.S. exit from the 12-country Asia Pacific free trade deal. He said at the time that he would pursue individual deals with the other countries.

This isn't the first time that Mr. Trump has flipped his stance on the TPP. In January, Mr. Trump told CNBC in an interview in Davos, Switzerland that he "would do TPP, if we made a much better deal than we had." 

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