(Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Friday he favored the United States reaching trade agreements with individual countries as opposed to multilateral accords like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Trump, who is leading in the race for the Republican nomination for president, has made his opposition to trade deals like the 12-nation TPP and the North American Free Trade Agreement a centerpiece of his campaign toward the Nov. 8 vote.
"To do these deals where they wrap them up and they put 12 countries in one. TPP is an example. I want individual trade deals with individual countries," Trump told a Palm Beach, Florida, news conference ahead of the state's nominating contest on Tuesday.
"Some countries treat us better than others. Some are worse," he said.
"China will take advantage of TPP. It's not in it now but believe me they come through the back door. They are watching it so closely,” said Trump, a real estate developer. The deal was reached in October.
Trump said he favored free trade but it must be "fair." He said NAFTA had cost many Americans their jobs and TPP, which must be ratified by Congress, would do the same.
The United States already has bilateral trade deals with 20 countries, including Canada, Israel, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and South Korea.
(Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington; Editing by Howard Goller)
This article was funded in part by SAP. It was independently created by the Reuters editorial staff. SAP had no editorial involvement in its creation or production.
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