Trump says he would re-enter TPP trade deal if it's made 'substantially better'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE said Thursday he would consider re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement if the terms were more favorable to the U.S.

“I would do TPP if we were able to make a substantially better deal,” Trump told CNBC during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Trump called the Pacific Rim trade pact a “horrible deal” as written.

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The comments mark the first time Trump has raised the possibility of rejoining the sweeping trade agreement, which was championed by former President Obama.

It's a surprising stance for Trump, who won the 2016 election on a promise to take a more protectionist stance on trade.

Trump railed against the TPP as a candidate and announced the U.S. would pull out of the agreement in one of his first acts as president. At the time, Trump said leaving the TPP is a "great thing for the American worker."

But it’s unclear what, exactly, could entice Trump to re-enter the agreement. The president did not say what specific changes he wants to see made.

The president has repeatedly railed against multilateral trade pacts like TPP and the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he has threatened to exit if it cannot be renegotiated. 

Trump’s statement could irk the president’s supporters, who are already worried his appearance with billionaires and global elites in Davos clashes with the populist promises he made during the campaign.

The president is also facing pressure from free-traders, both at home and abroad, who say the U.S. could lose its leading economic role if it adopts more protectionist trade practices.

At the start of the forum, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the 11 other nations in the TPP are working toward a revised agreement.