U.S.’s Re-Entry in Pacific Trade Deal Would Come at a Price

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Other nations, and Washington, likely will each seek concessions on a new TPP.

White House efforts to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership face big challenges and negotiations that could stretch out beyond President Donald Trump’s first term, trade experts say.

The president first mentioned the possibility of re-entering TPP at a January conference of business elites in Davos, Switzerland. There was no follow-up of any kind, administration officials say, adding that TPP wasn’t a priority.

This time could be different. The president last week asked two top economic aides to explore the issue. But unless the U.S. spends months developing positions and meeting with trading partners, other nations will dismiss Mr. Trump’s words.

TPP was a 12-nation Pacific Rim trade pact, including Japan, Australia and Vietnam, meant to liberalize trade and counter Chinese influence. It would have cut tariffs, put restraints on state-owned enterprises and updated trade rules, among other things. As presidential candidates in 2016, both Mr. Trump and Democrat Hilary Clinton attacked TPP, which was viewed by critics as selling out workers because it made outsourcing jobs overseas easier. Mr. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal.

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