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US officials very surprised

President Trump exploring to re-join Trans-Pacific Partnership

National Farmers' Federation chief executive Tony Mahar claimed he was stunned when he heard that US president Trump is considering re-joining negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

United States farm-state politicians said -after a White House meeting with president Trump- that his trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, and his new chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow would be looking into the TTP agreement.

Of course, the TPP would open more overseas markets for American farmers. But it was Trump who ostensibly left the TTP last year.

Mr Mahar said it would "send a really good message" if president Trump reversed his opposition to the deal. "A country the size of America, and the optics of having the US actually sign on to an agreement which is in contrast to what they've done in the last couple of months in relation to increasing tariffs is quite significant," Mahar said.

Republican Senator for Nebraska, Ben Sasse, said he was sure there were a lot of particulars the US would want to negotiate. "But the President multiple times reaffirmed in general to all of us and looked right at Larry Kudlow and said, 'Larry, go get it done'.”

Abc.net.au explains how eleven countries signed the agreement last month. Trump's rejection of the deal rattled allies and raised questions about whether protectionism will impede US economic growth.

The discussions came during a meeting in which Mr Trump told farm-state governors and politicians that he was pressing China to treat the American agriculture industry fairly. Midwest farmers fear becoming caught up in a trade war as Beijing threatens to impose tariffs on soybeans and other US crops, a big blow to Midwestern farmers, many of whom are strong supporters of Mr Trump.

Mr Trump has mused about re-joining TPP negotiations in the past, but his request to his top aides shows a greater level of interest in re-joining the pact he railed against during his 2016 campaign.

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