President Donald Trump has told top economic advisors to look at the possibility of re-entering a massive Pacific trade deal, the White House said Thursday.
The president has asked chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider trying to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), according to White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters. He wants them to "take another look at whether or not a better deal could be negotiated," she said.
In a tweet on Thursday night, Trump said the U.S. would only join the TPP if the deal were "substantially better."
Earlier, Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said the president told lawmakers about his directive. The senators were among the lawmakers from agricultural states who met with Trump on Thursday about the White House's proposed tariffs on China, which farmers worry would lead to retaliation that hurts their businesses.
After the meeting, Sasse told reporters the 12-nation trade deal agreed to by President Barack Obama and abandoned by Trump would be the "single best way" to counter alleged Chinese trade abuses. Trump has used the threat of tariffs to punish Beijing for alleged intellectual property theft by Chinese companies.
Trump withdrew from the agreement last year as one of his first acts in office.