US to quit Trans-Pacific Partnership

Demonstrators protesting against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are seen on Pennsylvania Avenue, near the White House, on September 24, 2013 in Washington, DC. They said the trade deal kills American jobs.

President-elect, Donald Trump says the US will quit the Trans-Pacific Partnership-TPP trade deal on his first day in the White House.

He made the announcement in a video message outlining what he intends to do first when he takes office in January.

The TPP trade deal was signed by 12 countries which together cover 40% of the world’s economy.

Mr Trump also pledged to reduce “job-killing restrictions” on coal production and stop visa abuses.

But there was no mention of repealing Obamacare or building a wall on the southern border with Mexico, two actions he said during the campaign he would do as soon as he assumed power.

The massive trade deal was agreed in 2015 by nations including the US, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico, but is not yet ratified by the individual countries.

TPP’s aim
Its aim was to deepen economic ties and boost growth, including by reducing tariffs.

There were also measures to enforce labour and environmental standards, copyrights, patents and other legal protections.

But its opponents say it was negotiated in secret and it favoured big corporations.

Trump unveils his priorities for his first day in the White House.
Trump unveils his priorities for his first day in the White House.

Reason for scrapping TPP
During the US presidential election campaign, Mr Trump gave broad-brush arguments against the pact and used plenty of colourful language.

In June 2016, he described it as “another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country, just a continuing rape of our country.”

In another speech he referred to the TPP as “the greatest danger yet.”

But while there was plenty of talk about “taking back control” of the US economy, there were few specifics.

Announcing the plan to pull out of the TPP, he said that the US would “negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores.”

Reactions
Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull said, “There is very strong support among the other 11 parties to the TPP to ratify it and to seek to bring it into force. So Mr. Trump and his new congress will have to make their own decisions in America’s interest.”  

Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak said, “It is Donald Trump’s right as the democratically-elected next leader of the United States to make the policy decisions he thinks right.”

New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key said, “The United States is not an island. It can’t just sit there and say it’s not going to trade with the rest of the World, and at some point it will have to give some consideration to that.”

“The collapse of the TPP will now create a void in Asia. There is lots of talk about China now moving in to fill it,” an economist, Harumi Taguchi said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the TPP would be “meaningless” without the involvement of the US.

Asia-Pacific leaders meeting in Peru over the weekend had said they would continue to pursue free trade deals, despite Mr Trump’s opposition.

BBC/Sammie