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Under increasing pressure from the fallout of the trade war with China, it looks like President Trump may be walking back one of his campaign promises:
WASHINGTON—One year after withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, President Donald Trump has asked his top economic advisers to study the possibility of re-entering the trade pact negotiations.
Trump has deputized Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, and Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, to study the possibility of re-entering the TPP if the terms were favorable, the president told a group of lawmakers on Thursday.
The president’s new openness toward the TPP, which he had said during his campaign was a deal “pushed by special interests who want to rape our country,” comes as he is facing criticism from farmers for his escalating trade battle with China. After Trump took aim at China with new steel and aluminum tariffs, Beijing responded by announcing it would place penalties on a list of agricultural products that would affect swaths of the president’s political base.
As a matter of policy, this is a big win in the column for “Good Trump” — it’s absolutely the right policy move from both an economic or foreign policy perspective. As a political matter, it remains to be seen how his base, vehemently opposed to most trade deals, will take the news that the President is going against them on one of his core campaign promises.