US trade rep Robert Lighthizer says no return to TPP deal, wants bilateral deals in Asia

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (centre) leaves a press conference during the APEC Ministers Responsible For Trade meeting in Hanoi, on May 21, 2017.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (centre) leaves a press conference during the APEC Ministers Responsible For Trade meeting in Hanoi, on May 21, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

HANOI (REUTERS) - United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Sunday (May 22) that the US would not return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal after 11 remaining countries earlier agreed to look at how they could move ahead without it.

He said the US favoured bilateral over multilateral trade deals and he expected a series of agreements in the region, where he is attending a meeting of ministers from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries.

"The United States pulled out of the TPP and it's not going to change that decision. That does not mean we will not engage in this region," Lighthizer told a news conference in Hanoi, Vietnam.

"The president made a decision, that I certainly agree with, that bilateral negotiations are better for the United States than multilateral negotiations."

Asked why the US was against using language opposing protectionism, he said it favoured free trade, but would defend against unfair trade.

 

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