President Donald Trump told two of his top economic advisers to look at the possibility of re-entering a massive Pacific trade deal, two Republican senators said Thursday.
As CNBC reported, the president said he has instructed chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow and U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer to consider rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, said Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ben Sasse, R-Neb. The senators were among the lawmakers from agricultural states who met with Trump on Thursday about the White House's proposed tariffs on China, which farmers worry would lead to retaliation that hurts their businesses.
Following the meeting, Sasse told reporters the 12-nation trade deal agreed to by President Barack Obama and abandoned by Trump would be the "single best way" to counter alleged Chinese trade abuses. Trump has used the threat of tariffs to punish Beijing for alleged intellectual property theft.
Still, it may be too late for the U.S. to become part of the TPP again. In March, the 11 remaining nations signed a trade agreement called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It has not yet been ratified by enough countries to take effect.