Trump vows to overhaul 'horrible' trade deals

Trump vows to overhaul 'horrible' trade deals
© Greg Nash/The Hill

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE will vow to overhaul the nation’s trade policy and pull the United States out of unacceptable global trade agreements during remarks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Thursday night. 

The Republican nominee has railed against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) throughout his campaign and promised the issue would remain front and center if he wins the White House in November.

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"I pledge to never sign any trade agreement that hurts our workers, or that diminishes our freedom and independence," Trump said in prepared remarks ahead of his speech.

"Instead, I will make individual deals with individual countries," he said. 

NAFTA is a three-country agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico, while the TPP is a 12-nation deal that spans the Pacific Rim from Japan and Australia to Chile. 

"No longer will we enter into these massive deals, with many countries, that are thousands of pages long, and which no one from our country even reads or understands," he said.

Trump has said that both agreements should be renegotiated or he would yank the United States out of the deals.

"Our horrible trade agreements with China and many others, will be totally renegotiated," he said. 

"That includes renegotiating NAFTA to get a much better deal for America and we’ll walk away if we don’t get the deal that we want," he said.

President Obama is urging a reluctant Congress to pass the Pacific Rim agreement before he leaves office to ensure that the United States gains a strategic and economic foothold in the rapidly growing region.

Trump blasted presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE for backing NAFTA and for once supporting the TPP before reversing course last fall.

He said former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle Presidential approval: It's the economy; except when it's not Hypocrisy in Kavanaugh case enough to set off alarms in DC MORE's signing of the North American pact was "one of the worst economic deals ever made by our country."

And that normalizing trade relations with China was “another one of her husband’s colossal mistakes.”

The United States doesn't have a free trade agreement with China, but permanent normal trade relations were established with Beijing in 2000, the final year of President Clinton's second term. 

The two countries are working on a bilateral investment treaty that after 26 rounds of talks has yet to reach a conclusion. U.S. officials have said they hope to complete a deal this year but won't force an agreement for the sake of getting it done.

Trump touted his business success as a reason why he is better equipped to protect U.S. jobs and punish countries that break global rules and companies that move abroad. 

"I am going to bring our jobs back to Ohio and to America and I am not going to let companies move to other countries, firing their employees along the way, without consequences," he said. 

He has suggested applying high tariffs on imports from China if the Communist nation doesn't stop stealing U.S. intellectual property, dumping imports here and manipulating its currency.

"We are going to enforce all trade violations, including through the use of taxes and tariffs, against any country that cheats," he said.

Trump's isolationist tone on trade policy has put him at odds with powerful business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that have warned retreating from the global stage will severely damage the nation's economy.

But that hasn't stopped the GOP's nominee from pushing an America-first agenda. 

“Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo," Trump said.

Trump also hit on a popular theme of congressional Democrats and labor unions opposed to the TPP, arguing that the agreement will allow foreign governments to change U.S. law. 

“The TPP will not only destroy our manufacturing, but it will make America subject to the rulings of foreign governments,” he said.