Trump vows to withdraw US from Trans-Pacific trade deal

November 22, 2016
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US president-elect Donald Trump/AFP
US president-elect Donald Trump/AFP

, WASHINGTON, United States, Nov 22- Donald Trump on Monday announced the United States would signal its withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal on his first day in the White House, part of six immediate steps.

The Republican billionaire said in a twitter video message, “My agenda will be based on a simple core principle: putting America first.”

“On trade, I am going to issue our notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country,” said Trump, who takes office January 20.

“Instead, we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores,” he added.

The president-elect, who tapped the anger of working-class Americans who feel left behind by globalisation during the election campaign, singled out trade deals such as the TPP as key culprits.

Japan says TPP is ‘meaningless’ without US

Both the 12-nation TPP and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) featured heavily in the brutal White House race – which was accused of harming the US economy and jobs — and many see Trump’s victory as a repudiation of ever-deeper commercial ties.

Asian leaders have been scrambling to save the TPP, and US Trade Representative Michael Froman warned last week that scrapping it would have “serious” strategic and economic costs.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday that TPP would be meaningless without US participation.

Abe, who attended a gathering of TPP leaders in Lima on Saturday, said there was no discussion at the meeting that other members should try to put the TPP into effect without the US, Abe told reporters in Buenos Aires.

“The TPP would be meaningless without the United States,” Abe added.

Abe had worked closely with Obama on trade pact, which was part of Obama’s push to counter the rising strength of China and a pillar of Abe’s economic reforms.

Trump lays out strategy

The 70-year-old property tycoon and reality TV star also outlined a list of priorities for his first 100 days in office and executive actions to be taken “on day one”. He laid out policies on half a dozen issues from trade to immigration, national security and ethics, all aimed at “reforming Washington and rebuild our middle class.”

Sticking to his theme of protecting US jobs, Trump said he would direct the Department of Labor to investigate abuses of visa programmes “that undercut the American worker.”

On energy, the president-elect has pledged to boost the oil and gas sector and bring back coal, reversing Obama’s efforts to encourage renewables.

In the video message he promised to “cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy — including shale energy and clean coal — creating many millions of high-paying jobs.”

Regarding national security, Trump said he would ask the Department of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to “develop a comprehensive plan to protect America’s vital infrastructure from cyber-attacks, and all other form of attacks.”

On cutting government red tape – another central pledge – he promised “a rule which says that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated.”

And on the subject of ethics – the Republican has vowed to “drain the swamp” in Washington, although his own transition team includes several lobbyists – he promised “a five-year ban on executive officials becoming lobbyists after they leave the administration.”

‘Mad Dog’ Mattis

There was no mention in the message of some of Trump’s biggest campaign promises — notably his pledge to build a wall along the Mexican border, deport millions of immigrants, restrict Muslim immigration, or repeal the Obamacare healthcare law.

The video was issued as a stream of would-be appointees continued to arrive at his New York headquarters, with the day’s talk focusing on retired general James “Mad Dog” Mattis being nominated as secretary of defense (who famously said, “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet”).

Trump’s camp has said no new nomination announcements were imminent.

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