Trump vows to withdraw from TPP ‘on day one’
DONALD Trump announced the United States would signal its withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal on his first day in the White House, as one of six immediate steps aimed at “putting America first”.
The Republican billionaire, who for 10 days has been sounding out cabinet picks at his Trump Tower offices in New York, made the pledge in a short video message.
The 70-year-old property tycoon outlined a list of priorities for his first 100 days and executive actions to be taken “on day one” – on halfa-dozen issues from trade to immigration, national security and ethics – in a push to “reform Washington and rebuild our middle class”.
“My agenda will be based on a simple core principle: putting America first,” said the president-elect, whose victorious campaign tapped the anger of working-class Americans who feel left behind by globalisation, singling out trade deals such as the TPP as key culprits.
“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 Mr Trump, who takes office on January 20.
Both the 12-nation TPP and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) featured in the brutal White House race and many see Mr Trump’s victory as a repudiation of ever-deeper commercial ties.
Mr Trump’s populist election platform called for scuttling the TPP – President Barack Obama’s signature trade initiative which still needs approval from the Republican-dominated Congress – as well as for renegotiating NAFTA.
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.
Mr Trump’s pledge to pull out of the deal was one of six points on
which he promised immediate action – which he can take without Congressional approval – all of which echoed his campaign positions.
Sticking to his theme of protecting US jobs, Mr Trump said he would direct the Department of Labour to investigate abuses of visa programs “that undercut the American worker”.
On energy, Mr Trump pledged to boost the oil and gas sector and bring back coal, reversing Mr Obama’s efforts to encourage renewables.
Regarding national security, Mr Trump said he would ask the Department of Defence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to “develop a comprehensive plan to protect America’s vital infrastructure from cyberattacks, and all other form of attacks”.
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”. –