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US may rejoin TPP if it were 'much better deal': Trump

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- President Donald Trump said Friday the United States may rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership if the pending regional free trade agreement were a "much better deal" for Washington.

    "There is a possibility we would go in, but they will be offering us a much better deal, I would certainly do that," Trump said at a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after their meeting at the White House.

    "TPP was a very bad deal for the United States. It would have cost us tremendous amounts of jobs, would have been bad," Trump said, calling for renegotiation of the pact with Australia, Japan and the nine other remaining TPP signatories.

    Despite Trump's call, current TPP members are reluctant to renegotiate the deal they sealed with the administration of Trump's predecessor Barack Obama. Trump withdrew the United States from the TPP soon after taking office in January last year.

    The 11 members have agreed to promote a revised version of the TPP without the United States -- or a so-called TPP 11 -- and they are planning to sign the new pact on March 8 in Chile with an eye on bringing it into force next year.

    While bragging about his "extraordinary" personal relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump pushed Beijing, a non-TPP party, to reduce its massive and chronic trade surplus with Washington.

    "We've developed a great relationship with China, other than the fact that they've been killing us on trade for the last long period of time," the U.S. leader said.

    "As much as I like and respect, really respect President Xi, we have to straighten out the trade imbalance," he said. "So much, it's no good."


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