Trump Signs Executive Order Pulling the U.S. Out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Donald Trump signs an executive order Monday withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. (Screen shot via The Hill)

President Trump, taking a major economic step, has withdrawn the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal considered one of the most significant achievements of the Obama administration.

With an executive order, one of several carried out Monday, Trump effectively ended U.S. participation in the 12-nation deal.

“The TPP—which has also included Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Brunei—would have slashed tariffs for American imports and exports with those countries,” CNN said. “In exchange, the United States had negotiated labor, environmental and intellectual property protections that major businesses sought. The deal’s critics complained that it didn’t directly address the issue of currency manipulation.”

This move not only fulfilled one of Trump’s major campaign promises, but indicated his administration’s shift from traditional Republican policies. The New York Times reports:

[Trump] demonstrated that he would not follow old rules, effectively discarding longstanding Republican orthodoxy that expanding global trade was good for the world and America — and that the United States should help write the rules of international commerce. …

The deal, which was to link a dozen nations from Canada and Chile to Australia and Japan in a complex web of trade rules, was sold as a way to permanently tie the United States to East Asia and create an economic bulwark against a rising China.

Instead, Mr. Trump said American workers would be protected against competition from low-wage countries like Vietnam and Malaysia, also parties to the deal.

Many worry that China will now “extend its reach” as an economic leader. And top Republicans seemed outraged at the loss of business opportunity that the TPP would have afforded.

“I don’t see any benefit in trying to crawl back into our shell as a country,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told CNN.

Others, however, applauded the move. Many progressives opposed the TPP during Barack Obama’s administration, and they celebrated the collapse of the deal caused by the Trump order.

“I am glad the Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead and gone,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Monday.

Multiple labor groups also celebrated the news. Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, said:

Today’s announcement that the U.S. is withdrawing from TPP and seeking a reopening of NAFTA is an important first step toward a trade policy that works for working people. … While these are necessary actions, they aren’t enough. They are just the first in a series of necessary policy changes required to build a fair and just global economy. We will continue our relentless campaign to create new trade and economic rules that end special privileges for foreign investors and Big Pharma, protect our planet’s precious natural resources and ensure fair pay, safe conditions and a voice in the workplace for all workers.

Trump has said that, as president, he will negotiate U.S. departure from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which some see as an impossible task.

—Posted by Emma Niles

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