President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he'd consider re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, which he vehemently campaigned against, if he strikes a “substantially better” agreement.
Trump, who made withdrawing the U.S. from the controversial TPP deal a tentpole of his 2016 campaign, told CNBC in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland: “I would do TPP if we were able to make a substantially better deal.”
“The deal was terrible, the way it was structured was terrible,” the president said. “If we did a substantially better deal, I would be open to TPP.”
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) January 25, 2018
In January 2017, as one of Trump's first moves as president, he formally withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
The move received both praise and criticism from Washington. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called it “a serious mistake that will have lasting consequences for America's economy and our strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region.”
However, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a staunch critic of TPP, applauded the president for keeping his promise.
“I am glad the Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead and gone. For the last 30 years, we have had a series of trade deals — including the North American Free Trade Agreement, permanent normal trade relations with China and others — which have cost us millions of decent-paying jobs and caused a 'race to the bottom' which has lowered wages for American workers,” Sanders said. “If President Trump is serious about a new policy to help American workers, then I would be delighted to work with him.”
Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump often used graphic language to rip the trade deal.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another disaster, done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country,” then-candidate Trump said at a rally in St. Clairsville, Ohio. “Just a continuing rape of our country. That's what it is, too.”