The Death of TPP by Donald J. Trump

Trump signs executive order withdrawing US from TPP

Trump signs executive order withdrawing US from TPP

© Mark Kauzlarich / Reuters


RT. 23 Jan, 2017


With a stroke of a pen, President Donald Trump has unraveled the Trans-Pacific Partnership, withdrawing the US from the controversial free-trade pact. Without Washington’s participation, the TPP would have to be renegotiated or scrapped altogether.

The largest global trade agreement in 20 years, the TPP would have included the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. It was championed by former President Barack Obama as a way to open Asian markets for American goods and create a trade bloc to counter China.

Opposition to the TPP was one of the key planks of Trump’s presidential campaign, with the billionaire businessman calling the trade pact a “potential disaster” for the US. He said he would prefer bilateral trade deals with individual TPP countries instead. Monday’s executive order signaled the new administration’s determination to address its priorities quickly.

Vietnam backed out of the pact in November, citing uncertainty created by Trump’s election and the refusal of the US Congress to ratify the TPP.

Trump has also targeted the North American Free Trade Association, which eliminated commercial barriers between the US, Canada and Mexico during the Clinton administration.

If Wilbur Ross gets the Senate confirmation to head the Department of Commerce, he will be charged with renegotiating the trade deals, alongside US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and chief of the newly established White House Trade Council, Peter Navarro.

“We are going to start renegotiating on NAFTA, on immigration and on security at the border,” Trump said on Sunday, after the swearing-in ceremony for senior White House staff.

Trump’s animosity for the TPP was shared by some of the Democrats, led by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. His rival in the November 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, initially supported the trade pact.

On Monday, Trump assembled chief executives of major US corporations at the White House and promised to lower the tax and regulatory burden on doing business within the country. His administration will be scrapping free trade in favor of fair trade, he said.

“The regulations are going to be cut massively, and the taxes will be cut with them,” Trump said, warning that those who relocate factories will face a “substantial border tax.”

Trump signed two more executive orders on Monday, freezing all federal government hiring – with the exception of the US military – and prohibiting federal funding to US organizations promoting abortion overseas.



Jan 23, 2017

US President Donald Trump speaks during the swearing-in of the White House senior staff at the White House, in Washington, DC,  January 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

US President Donald Trump speaks during the swearing-in of the White House senior staff at the White House, in Washington, DC, January 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

US President Donald Trump is planning to start renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as soon as he meets with Mexican and Canadian leaders.

“We’re going to start some negotiations having to do with NAFTA,” Trump said during the swearing-in ceremony for his senior staff at the White House on Sunday.

“Anybody ever hear of NAFTA?” he asked. “I ran a campaign somewhat based on NAFTA. But we’re going to start renegotiating on NAFTA, on immigration, on security at the border.”

Revamping the 23-year-old deal was one of the central pledges of Trump’s presidential campaign.

The Manhattan billionaire has called NAFTA “the worst trade deal ever agreed to, signed, in the history of the world,” arguing that it has led to the outsourcing of thousands of jobs from the United States to Mexico and China.

Canada has indicated that it is open to renegotiations, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowing to work closely with the new US president on the trade deal.

“If the Americans want to talk about NAFTA, I’m more than happy to talk about it,” he said in November.

Mexico, however, has taken a slightly different line on the issue, saying it is ready to “modernize” NAFTA rather than renegotiate it.

“We think it is an opportunity to think if we should modernize it, not renegotiate it, but to modernize it,” said Mexico’s Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu.

NAFTA was first proposed by the administration of former President George H.W. Bush and was finalized by his successor Bill Clinton.

Trump threatened in the buildup to his November 8 election victory that he would withdraw the US from the pact “If we don’t get the deal we want.”

However, in early December, Anthony Scaramucci, a senior advisor on the Trump transition team, reassured a group of business leaders that scrapping the deal was out of the question and that Trump was only going to make it “fairer.”

“I don’t think we’re looking to rip up NAFTA as much as we are looking to right-size it and make it fairer,” Scaramucci said, noting that the US has lost about 70,000 factories since NAFTA was enacted.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a fierce critic of Trump, has also blasted NAFTA for costing the US nearly 900,000 jobs.



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