Montana Public Radio

Daines 'Building Momentum' For U.S. To Rejoin TPP Trade Talks

Apr 24, 2018

Senator Steve Daines put out a press release Tuesday saying he’s "building momentum" for the U.S. to re-join negotiations for the trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

In a White House meeting with Daines and other farm state lawmakers on April 13th President Trump made remarks that some interpreted as a potential policy change towards re-joining TPP talks. Pulling out of the trade agreement was one of Trump’s first actions after being elected, and he spoke strongly against it during his campaign.

Shortly after the April 13th meeting though, Trump tweeted that he would only join TPP if the deal were substantially better than the one offered to President Obama.

Daines released a video clip of part of his exchange in the Senate Agriculture Committee meeting Tuesday with Agriculture Secretary Sunny Purdue.

Sen. Steve Daines: "Would joining that agreement, do you believe, benefit American agriculture?"

USDA Secretary Sunny Purdue: "I do. I think, again, it forms a united front with our allies in an effort of tariff reduction that excludes China to our benefit, and not to their benefit, and I concur with you there. I would welcome us looking at re-joining the TPP. Again, I think the President’s negotiating style could possibly get even a better agreement this time around."

The Montana Grain Growers Association and many other ag groups nationwide are in favor of the US being part of TPP negotiations. They’ve pushed back against the Trump administration’s skepticism of them, saying access to global markets is crucial to their survival.