Trump asks advisors to study U.S. re-entering trans-Pacific trade deal negotiations

Gov. Pete Ricketts R-Neb. left listens as President Donald Trump speaks to Sen. Joni Ernst R-Iowa during a meeting with governors and lawmakers in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Thursday

"The president multiple times reaffirmed in general to all of us and looked right at Larry Kudlow and said, 'Larry, go get it done, '" Sen.

Eleven countries signed the agreement last month.

Trump signed an executive order scrapping the deal days after his inauguration in 2017, hailing the decision as a "great thing for the American worker".

The TPP builds in intellectual property protections central to trade tensions with China. It indicates that Trump prefers a more strategic, multilateral approach to a head-to-head confrontation that could lead to a full-blown China trade war.

Back in June 2016, Trump claimed that the agreement was, in fact, "pushed by special interests who want to rape our country". Tariffs placed on US automotive imports to China don't match the lesser tariffs placed on Chinese imports to the U.S.

But Mr. Trump has also hinted at re-entering the deal if he can secure a "substantially better deal" for the U.S. Farm-state lawmakers fear that would reduce demand for the biofuels and violate the RFS law.

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North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said Trump made some "pretty positive statements" about allowing the year-round use of E-15 ethanol, which could help corn growers.

Earlier in the week, Trump had alluded to China's targeting of agriculture in retaliation to his tariffs. "We need to have reciprocity". We do not want another subsidy program. Only two months ago he said the TPP was "bad" for the U.S., reiterating his support for bilateral deals instead of multilateral deals. Sen Ron Johnson, R-Wis., was among a handful of senators who recently visited China to meet with government and business leaders there. Now, suddenly, the president who has railed against trade pacts that feature the US and multiple partners is considering joining the TPP, showing again his willingness to change his mind, even when doing so would betray his core beliefs and political base.

While the threat of increasing tariffs in a potential trade war doesn't bode well for USA workers, Daines said, such imbalances must be addressed.

Representatives for chemical manufacturers and soybean farmers also expressed their concerns to the House ways and means committee, which is examining the impact of the tariffs.

In late February, 25 Senate Republicans wrote a letter to Trump calling on him to rejoin the agreement, arguing it would broadly boost the US economy.

Roberts and Sasse said they poured cold water on the president's idea that if tariff tensions with China escalate, he will provide federal aid to US farmers.

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