US faces considerable barriers to TPP re-entry despite reversal

US faces considerable barriers to TPP re-entry despite reversal

US President Donald Trump will meet his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Florida today to discuss Washington’s future engagement with

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Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

US President Donald Trump will meet his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Florida today to discuss Washington’s future engagement with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Mr Trump withdrew from his first day in office.

The Trump administration has expressed a preference for bilateral deals in believing it would be a better setting for the US to negotiate fairer deals. It also favours reducing trade barriers that it claims block US exports.

In early March, the TPP’s remaining 11 states signed a version of the agreement that eliminated trade rules regarding intellectual property rights, such as extending copyrights and reducing barriers for express shipments companies, for which Washington had pushed. Now, Mr Trump is signalling that the US might be interested in rejoining the TPP if offered “substantially better” terms.

Trade experts suspect Mr Trump’s move is an effort to placate his own base in the wake of the escalating US-China tariff standoff.

However, there are logistical and political obstacles to the US rejoining. Talks would not formally start until after the new deal goes into effect next year and renegotiations could take years; each of the 11 states would have a veto and Congress would have to ratify any final deal.