Leaders of the Senate Finance trade subcommittee sent a letter on Thursday to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, calling on the Biden administration to reconsider former President Trump’s “misguided” and “short-sighted” decision in 2017 to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Subcommittee chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) and ranking member John Cornyn (R-TX), along with two other lawmakers from the House said pulling out of the agreement “has only served to weaken the United States, empower China, put American workers and businesses at a competitive disadvantage, and cede leadership in arguably the most strategically vital and economically dynamic region of the world.”
The letter asked Tai to re-engage with allies in the Asia-Pacific region to develop multilateral, free-trade partnerships. “Our current trade policy in the Asia-Pacific region is in need of a strategic direction that includes robust engagement with our allies in the region, similar to what was envisioned by the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership,” they said.
The lawmakers acknowledge that much has changed in the years since the negotiation of the TPP, and that hammering out a deal to rejoin the subsequently renamed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership in its current form would face “significant political obstacles” in Congress. Even so, they believe that broad bipartisan support for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement serves as an example of U.S. leaders’ ability “to engage with our allies to write the rules of international trade.”