U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, addressing a gathering of Asian trading partners in Hanoi on May 21, made it clear: The U.S. is not rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The TPP is a trade pact involving 11 nations besides the U.S. President Trump withdrew to get better individual deals.
Lighthizer told the assembled trade representatives that the president has made the decision, which I certainly agree with, that bilateral negotiations are better for the United States than multilateral negotiations, and after review, the TPP was not in the interest of the United States.
Lighthizer made it clear the U.S. still plans to trade with Asia. “We are still an enormous exporter to this area. We are an enormous importer from this area,” he noted. “We expect to engage with members here in many cases on a bilateral basis.”
The 11 remaining nations had hoped the United States could be enticed back into TPP. The United States represented three-quarters of the group’s volume of trade.
Member nations had hoped TPP could counterbalance China’s enormous influence in regional trade.