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Trump: I'd only rejoin Pacific trade pact if deal was 'substantially better'

Trump: I'd only rejoin Pacific trade pact if deal was 'substantially better'
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlynn to campaign for Montana GOP Senate candidate Trump considering pardon for boxing legend after call from Sylvester Stallone Decline in EPA enforcement won't keep climate bill from coming MORE late Thursday tempered expectations that he would reenter the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), saying he would only rejoin the trade pact if the deal were “substantially better.”

“Would only join TPP if the deal were substantially better than the deal offered to Pres. Obama,” Trump tweeted.

“We already have BILATERAL deals with six of the eleven nations in TPP, and are working to make a deal with the biggest of those nations, Japan, who has hit us hard on trade for years!” Trump added. 

Earlier Thursday, GOP senators said the president directed his top economic officials to look into joining the TPP, which 11 other Pacific Rim nations signed in March.

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The U.S. originally entered the pact under the Obama administration, but Trump withdrew from it last year, deeming it a “disaster.” 

His Thursday night tweet echoed a White House statement earlier in the day, which said Trump would only reenter the TPP if the deal was made "substantially" better.

"He has asked [U.S. Trade Representative Robert] Lighthizer and [White House National Economic Council] Director [Larry] Kudlow to take another look at whether or not a better deal could be negotiated,” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a statement.

The members of the pact are Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Trump’s reconsideration of the TPP comes as his administration attempts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and exchanges tariff threats with China.