Trump appears to rule out rejoining the TPP: 'I don’t like the deal'

Key Points
  • In a Tuesday tweet, President Donald Trump said he didn't think the Trans-Pacific Partnership was good for the U.S.
  • The Pacific free-trade pact has "too many contingencies," he said following a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
  • Trump had said that Washington would only rejoin the landmark pact if it was "substantially better" than the version offered to former President Barack Obama.
President Donald Trump gestures during a roundtable on tax cuts for Florida small businesses in Hialeah, Florida, April 16, 2018.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

After recently indicating he could consider rejoining the massive Pacific trade pact, President Donald Trump said he now doesn't think the Trans-Pacific Partnership is good for the world's largest economy.

Following Tuesday's bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the U.S. leader took to Twitter to criticize the current TPP agreement, saying it had "too many contingencies and no way to get out." He also expressed a preference for bilateral trade deals, calling them more "profitable."

Trump tweet: While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back into TPP, I don't like the deal for the United States. Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn't work. Bilateral deals are far more efficient, profitable and better for OUR workers. Look how bad WTO is to U.S.

Of note, some experts expressed confusion at Trump's inclusion of South Korea in the Twitter post since that country isn't a member of the trade pact.

Ian Bremmer tweet: S Korea isn't in TPP. Just FYI.

However, there have been some reports in Korean media that Seoul may now be considering joining up to the TPP, and could even have considered doing so along with the U.S.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

The post comes a few days after Trump asked advisors to consider the possibility of re-entering the TPP. The president has previously said that Washington would only join if the landmark pact was "substantially better" than the version offered to former President Barack Obama.

Officially known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the landmark agreement was signed last month and will cut tariffs between 11 member countries, which include Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia and Mexico. It is currently awaiting ratification from six of the nations.

President Trump reconsiders TPP
President Trump reconsiders TPP

Abe has long vocalized a desire for Washington to rejoin the landmark deal following Trump's decision to withdraw in January 2017. But it's unclear whether the remaining TPP members will be open to re-negotiating a deal that was thrown into disarray following the U.S. exit.

Japanese lawmakers are currently deliberating the TPP in parliament.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, White House Chief Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said "there are discussions and considerations" between American and Japanese trade officials on the TPP.

When asked whether Washington would look into negotiating a different pact, Kudlow said that, if the country chose to "improve" the deal, "we will have to be convinced that it's worth our while."

"I don't think the president is yet convinced of that, to be honest," he added.