Trump Administration Desire to Rejoin TPP is a Little Late
US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, in a speech before the US Chamber of Commerce, said that the Trump administration would consider rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to reporting from several news outlets.
Renegotiating the trade deal is “on the table,” Mnuchin told the chamber, according to the reports, although it is not necessary a top administration priority.
Mnuchin’s comments are not all that surprising given the fact the President Donald Trump himself told an interviewer during the Davos economic summit in January that he “would do TPP if we were able to make a substantially better deal.” But the wobbly policy of the Trump administration is still remarkable, in light of the president’s pulling the United States out of the deal as one of his first acts as president and after calling TPP “a rape of our country” during the presidential campaign.
Also interesting is that Mnuchin’s remarks came a week after the remaining eleven TPP members—now calling themselves the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPATPP—released the text of their new accord, which was reached of several months of negotiations.
The text changes 20 US-sponsored provisions from the original, according to Bloomberg, including strengthened intellectual property protections, but keeps a prohibition on rules requiring companies to store data within the borders of a particular country.
The CPATPP members plan on signing the agreement March 8 in Chile and the pact would enter into force 60 days after ratification by six signatories.
Presumably, Trump, if he is actually serious at all about rejoining TPP, is looking to renegotiate the accord. But that ship has already sailed, as the remaining eleven countries have already finalized the treaty text.
Several officials of CPATPP countries are on record as saying the US is welcome to join the group, but that it would have to accept the terms as already laid out by the CPATPP members. In other words, it wouldn’t be a negotiation, it would be a take-it-or-leave-it situation.
Sounds familiar. What are the chances Trump would take that deal?
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