U.S. President Donald Trump has reportedly directed his aides to look into the possibility of re-engaging in negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a deal he pulled out of within days of assuming the presidency.
The New York Times reported that he announced the surprising move to a gathering of farm state lawmakers and governors on Thursday morning.
Rejoining the deal would mark a sharp policy change for Trump, who in the 2016 election campaign frequently criticized the pact being negotiated between 12 Pacific Rim countries.
In March this year a revised deal was signed by the remaining 11 nations – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will see the elimination of horticultural trade tariffs, pending ratification within the legislations of the various countries.
The original TPP deal negotiated by Barack Obama’s Administration was widely considered to be in part an affront to China and its economic policies.
This latest development comes as the U.S. Government looks into ways it can protect the country’s farmers in the wake of China imposing tariffs on numerous agricultural commodities including a 15% duty on many fruit crops.