President Donald Trump says “I don’t want to go back into” the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump told reporters “the media has not covered the TPP correctly.” President Trump however did say that “if they offered us a deal that I can’t refuse, on behalf of the United States, I would do it,” according to the Hagstrom Report. The comments follow a previous statement by the President on Twitter that he would be interested in rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, and comments made during a White House meeting last week where farm-state senators say Trump told them his administration would explore rejoining the trade agreement.
Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who attended the meeting and confirmed the comments, added that rejoining TPP is the “best thing” the U.S. can do to “push back” against China. As for trade with Japan, Trump said he would prefer “a bilateral deal, a deal directly with Japan.”
The Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service says a Japan-EU trade agreement threatens U.S. pork exports to Japan. Japan and the EU announced finalization of negotiations on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement in December of last year. For 2017, Japan imported $1.68 billion of pork from the U.S. and $1.69 billion from the European Union. Japan ranked as the world’s largest importer of pork and pork products in 2017, growing imports from $4.9 billion in 2016 to $5.2 billion in 2017.
USDA says the trade agreement between Japan and the EU, similar to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, marks a change in trade with Japan eliminating tariffs on more than 60 percent of its pork and pork product tariff lines within 12 years. Additionally, the agreement has established a volume-based safeguard for EU pork imports that will be phased out over 11 years. USDA says larger exports of European processed pork products can be expected under the agreement, and USDA says agricultural exporters from the United States will face challenges as the EU gains preferential tariffs under the agreement.