And Jacinda Arden, the prime minister of New Zealand, said that "it's not just a matter of slotting into an existing deal" and the USA rejoining would "trigger another process of engagement and negotiation". "This is done by wealthy people that want to take advantage of us and that want to sign another partnership". "So, the United States would have the ability to influence this important alliance".
President Donald Trump's move on Thursday to put the Trans-Pacific Partnership back on the agenda shows that he may have a new appreciation of the trade pact's strategic value as he threatens tariffs on China.
Eleven countries signed the agreement last month.
"As I've been saying for a decade now: The way to economically box out China in a competitive way is to enter into free trade agreements with its neighbors, and that's what TPP would have done", he said.
Experts say trade tension with China is a big factor.
China's aggressive response to Trump's tariffs is aimed squarely at goods produced in the USA heartland, a region that helped send him to the White House.
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China's Ministry of Commerce, which is in charge of China's trade deals, did not immediately comment.
What could have pushed President Trump over the fence to announce the idea of rejoining the TPP talks is the recent trade dispute between the United States and China. The president seemed to slow the timeline for any US strike after earlier this week signaling an attack was imminent. China hit back quickly to impose similar tariffs on more than 100 American products, such as soybeans, pork and cars.
Senator Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican who participated in the meeting with Trump, said: "He multiple times reaffirmed the point that TPP might be easier to join now".
An analysis by the Japanese Cabinet Office released in December 2017 showed that the original TPP deal would have pushed up long term real growth in gross domestic product by 2.59 percent, a significantly higher rate than the 1.49 percent expected under the TPP deal without the USA - which is now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP-11. "It should have resonated with him before, but now that he's moving toward serious negotiations with China, this is the best defense against the Chinese and the best way to counter them in the Pacific", says the American Enterprise Institute's Claude Barfield.
Among those who supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership was Trump's nominee to head the State Department, Mike Pompeo, who said during his confirmation hearing Thursday that the United States needs "to be deeply engaged" in dealing with China.
Members of Congress and governors from agriculture states met with the president for over an hour at the White House, leaving feeling confident that he wanted to re-enter the trade agreement.
The possibility of joining the TPP pleased executives of the US Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers.