Trump moves to withdraw from TPP trade pact


Trump moves to withdraw from TPP trade pact
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

President Donald Trump moved Monday to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, making good on a pledge to scrap a deal he denounced as a “job killer” and a “rape” of US interests.

Embarking on his first full week in office, the 45th US president began rolling out his policy agenda after a tumultuous first weekend for his administration by signing a series of executive orders.

Among the first was a memo on withdrawing from the vast TPP trade pact, which aimed to set trade rules for the 21st century and bind US allies against growing Chinese economic clout.

“We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” Trump said as he signed the executive order in the Oval Office.

“Great thing for the American worker what we just did.”

Promoted by Washington and signed by 12 countries in 2015, the TPP had yet to go into effect and US withdrawal is likely to sound its death knell.

Its signatories — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Brunei — together represent 40 percent of the world economy.

The real estate mogul’s White House bid was fueled in part by a pledge to overturn trade deals — such as TPP and the North American Free Trade Agreement — which he says have drained US jobs and destroyed its industrial heartlands.

Trump also signed two other orders, on freezing the hiring of federal workers and hitting foreign NGOs that help with abortion.

On Sunday the president vowed to swiftly start renegotiating NAFTA in upcoming talks with the leaders of Canada and Mexico.

Trump has already moved to curb Obama’s health care reforms and more quick legal tweaks — in the form of executive orders — are expected on immigration and limiting environmental legislation.

But more substantive changes will need buy-in from the Republican controlled Congress.

‘Massive’ tax cuts?

On Monday, Trump was hosting separate meetings with business leaders, unions and members of both houses of Congress.

He will also meet the speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan.

Tax reform is likely to be high on the agenda.

“What we’re doing is we are going to be cutting taxes massively for both the middle class and for companies, and that’s massively,” he said.

“A bigger thing, and that surprised me, is the fact that we’re going to be cutting regulation massively.”

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