NHK took up President Trump’s remarks to the press suggesting the possibility of the U.S. rejoining the TPP, According to the network, several Japanese cabinet ministers welcomed the President’s statement, with Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Motegi saying: “We welcome that President Trump has recognized the significance of the TPP…. But the TPP 11’s top priority is to effectuate the accord without fail. The TPP’s membership will not be expanded without effectuating it first.”
The network speculated that President Trump may have made the comment because he is concerned it will become impossible for the U.S. to return to the TPP in view of the 11 members’ recent decision to effectuate the free trade deal without the U.S. The network noted that there have been no follow-up announcements by the White House or the USTR on the President’s remarks.
Nikkei ran a similar report on its website, speculating that the U.S. leader might have made the comment in response to calls from domestic businesses that are reportedly worried that the U.S. will be left behind following the recent agreement among the 11 members to effectuate the regional trade liberalization pact as early as 2019. The daily explained that the U.S. cattle industry has been urging the Trump administration to reconsider the withdrawal out of fear that its products will be outperformed by Australian beef in the rapidly growing Asian market.