Trump says he will withdraw US from Asia-Pacific deal on day one

Donald Trump said Monday that he would remove the United States from a sweeping Asia-Pacific trade agreement as part of his first order of business in the White House.

The president-elect said he would issue a notification of intent to withdraw from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an agreement he called “a potential disaster for our country,” in a new two-minute video statement.

{mosads}”Instead, we will negotiate fair and bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores,” he said. 

The TPP was President Obama’s signature trade issue, and he has urged Congress to ratify the deal during the lame-duck session.

But Trump’s election foiled those plans, with congressional Republicans abandoning a vote on the TPP pact.  

Trump repeatedly bashed the TPP and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during his campaign. He has vowed to rewrite most of U.S. trade policy during his presidency. 

But supportive Republicans had held out hope that a TPP agreement could eventually be struck among some of the fastest-growing economies along the Pacific Rim.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said last week that Republicans should support free trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the new Congress.

“Republicans are going to continue to support the freedom to trade,” Brady said during the Wall Street Journal CEO Council meeting.

“Don’t withdraw, renegotiate,” he said. “There is plenty that levels the playing field. Renegotiate. Fix the problems that exist today. Let’s find a way to move forward.”

A majority of House Democrats opposed to the TPP hailed the deal’s demise on Capitol Hill last week. Many blamed the president’s support for the TPP as a contributing factor to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s election loss. 

Still, most business groups supported the TPP and were aggressively pushing for its passage before the end of Obama’s term, despite a few lingering concerns. 

For his part, the president tried to calm global fears about how a Trump administration would proceed on trade during his final international trip.

During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, Peru, over the weekend, Obama said that TPP leaders reaffirmed “our commitment to the TPP, with its high standards, strong protections for workers, the environment, intellectual property and human rights.”  

“Our partners made very clear during the meeting that they want to move forward with TPP; preferably, they’d like to move forward with the United States,” the president said on Sunday.

He noted that a number of countries already are starting to ratify the TPP.

Seven of the countries in the agreement also are negotiating with China on trade in the region, and many have said they would move on, reluctantly, without the United States if necessary. 

The United States and 11 other nations, including Japan, Australia and New Zealand, completed the agreement in October 2015 and signed the pact in February.

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Kevin Brady

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