Mnuchin: Trump rejoining the TPP is 'on the table'

Mnuchin: Trump rejoining the TPP is 'on the table'
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The Trump administration is considering rejoining the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the multilateral trade agreement negotiated under the Obama administration that President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE vowed to end during the campaign.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Artist designs stamp to put Harriet Tubman's face over Jackson's on bills On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers MORE said Tuesday at a meeting sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that rejoining the Asian trade agreement is "on the table," according to The New York Times.

“I’ve met with several of my counterparties and other people, and we’ve begun to have very high-level conversations about TPP," Mnuchin said.

“It’s not a priority at the moment, but it is something the president will consider.”

Mnuchin went on to add that Trump still favors pursuing one-on-one trade agreements with individual countries, but is keeping rejoining a renegotiated TPP as a possibility in the future.

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The Treasury secretary's remarks follow Trump's statement during a CNBC interview in Davos, Switzerland, last month that he would consider a renegotiated TPP deal if the agreement was made "substantially better" in terms of achieving U.S. trade goals.

"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. If we did a substantially better deal, I would be open to TPP," Trump said in January.

More than two dozen Senate Republicans sent a letter to the White House last week urging Trump to re-engage TPP negotiations, asking the GOP president to "aggressively" pursue the multilateral deal.

“Increased economic engagement with the eleven nations currently in the TPP has the potential to substantially improve the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, support millions of U.S. jobs, increase U.S. exports, increase wages, fully unleash America's energy potential and benefit consumers,” wrote the lawmakers, including Senate Finance Committee chair Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump gambles in push for drug import proposal Biden's role in Anita Hill hearings defended by witness not allowed to testify 'Congress' worst tax idea ever'? Hardly. MORE (R-Utah).

“We encourage you to work aggressively to secure reforms that would allow the United States to join the agreement."