Washington, April 19: President Donald Trump has said he does not want the US to rejoin the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) -- a trade pact he withdrew the US from days after assuming presidency -- but would reconsider his stance if offered a deal that is good for America.
Trump's was responding to recent media reports that he has asked the US Trade Representative to review the possibilities of rejoining TPP. "The media has not covered the TPP correctly," Trump told reporters during a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
"I don't want to go back into TPP, but if they offered us a deal that I can't refuse, on behalf of the United States, I would do it," he said.
TPP is an ambitious trade agreement involving 12 countries. Trump said he still preferred bilateral ties over multilateral trade agreement like TPP.
"I think it's better for our country. I think it's better for our workers. I much would prefer a bilateral deal, a deal directly with Japan. We already have a deal with six of the 11 nations in the TPP. So we already have trade deals, and the others we can make very easily. They're all calling wanting to make a deal. But we think that's much better for us," he said.
"So, unless they offer us a deal that we cannot refuse, I would not go back into TPP. We'll see what happens. In the meantime, were negotiating," Trump said.
The US president said his administration was looking to have "a very good deal" with Japan. "What I really prefer is negotiating a one-on-one deal with Japan. That's where we are right now.. We will hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, have a very good deal for Japan and good for the United States," Trump said.
The US has a massive trade deficit with Japan -- anywhere from USD 69 billion to USD 100 billion a year.
"That's massive by any standpoint..if we can come to an arrangement on a new deal between the United States and Japan, that would certainly be something we would discuss -- aluminium tariffs and steel tariffs. I would look forward to being able to, at some point in the future, take them off," Trump said.