Trump Deputizes Kudlow, Lighthizer to Review TPP, Sasse Says

President Donald Trump has called on advisers to look for a way back in on TPP.    
   Chris Kleponis-Pool  Getty Images

On Friday, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse said that Trump said during a White House meeting with Midwest governors and legislators that he had "deputised" U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer and economic adviser Larry Kudlow to look into the United States rejoining the TPP.

Trump also indicated that talks are progressing toward successful renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In his remarks on Thursday, Trump cited a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping that the USA president interprets as a signal China is about to open its markets to more US goods.

Among those who supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership was Mr. Trump's nominee to head the state department, Mike Pompeo, who said during his confirmation hearing on Thursday that the United States needs "to be deeply engaged" in dealing with China.

"The president multiple times reaffirmed in general to all of us and looked right at Larry Kudlow and said, 'Larry, go get it done, '" Sasse said. Attending the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, he told CNBC: "I would do TPP if we were able to make a substantially better deal".

Eleven countries signed the agreement last month.

Rejoining the pact would be a major reversal as Trump escalates a trade conflict with China.

Fischer said that the president also discussed the importance of ethanol and the renegotiation of NAFTA with the president.

Roberts said it would be "good news all throughout farm country".

But entering into a new TPP could unify Trump with other trading partners and put new pressure on Beijing to either allow more imports into China or risk being alienated by other Asian countries, that would now received new trade benefits as part of the deal.

But at a time of increasing tensions over trade between the USA and China, revising a deal he once argued was "pushed by special interests who want to rape our country" could offer the United States greater leverage in negotiations with Beijing.

The EPA now bans the 15-percent blend, called E15, during the summer because of concerns that it contributes to smog on hot days.

China's aggressive response to Mr. Trump's tariffs is aimed squarely at products produced in the American heartland, a region that helped send him to the White House.

The president is also running into strong pushback from Republican lawmakers, particularly those representing agricultural regions where China's threatened retaliation against USA exports would hit hard.

The U.S. and China are in the early stages of what could be the biggest trade battle in more than a half century.

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