President-elect Donald Trump says his first day in office will include issuing formal notification the United States is withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, part of a series of moves based on his focus on “putting America first.”
In a video message posted to YouTube Monday, Trump called the TPP a “potential disaster” for the U.S.
“Instead, we will negotiate, fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores,” he said.
Throughout his campaign for president Trump opposed the TPP, which involves 12 Asia-Pacific nations, as well as the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. He touted his negotiating ability and said he would get new agreements that benefit the U.S.
Ministers from TPP countries signed the agreement in February 2016, saying their goal was to “enhance shared prosperity, create jobs, and promote sustainable economic development for all of our nations.”
President Barack Obama supported the pact, but Congress never gave the necessary approval for the U.S. to formally join.
Without the U.S., the TPP cannot go into effect. That is because of a provision that says it either needs to be approved by all 12 signatories, or by at least six of them if they together account for 85 percent of the combined gross domestic product of the entire group. The United States represents 60 percent of the combined GDP, so there is no way to meet that 85 percent threshold without U.S participation.
The Obama administration touted the TPP as a benefit for workers in the U.S. and the other 11 countries because of new standards for wages, hours, working conditions and prohibitions against child labor. Officials also said U.S. companies, particularly small businesses, would be able to vastly expand their exports through the elimination of tariffs, and that the deal would bring stronger standards for transparency, anti-corruption, and environmental protection.
President Barack Obama walks away from the podium after finishing his news conference at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Lima, Peru, Nov. 20, 2016.
The promises Trump spelled out Monday for when he takes office in two months did not include anything about his much-touted wall at the U.S.-Mexican border.
He said he would tell the Department of Labor to investigate “abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker” and ask the Defense Department to come up with a plan to protect the country’s vital infrastructure safe from “cyber attacks and all other form of attacks.”
Trump wants to do away with regulations targeting the energy industry, including those involving shale and clean coal, which he says will create “many millions of high paying jobs.” And as part of his plan to reform government, Trump wants any new regulation to come in only with the elimination of two existing ones.
He said his transition team is working “very smoothly, efficiently and effectively,” and continued meeting with a parade of people being considered for jobs in the incoming administration.
Among those Trump met with Monday in New York were former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who briefly ran for the Republican nomination last year and at a debate accused Trump of relying on celebrity instead of conservatism to appeal to voters. Perry is reportedly being considered for one of several jobs, including defense or agriculture secretary.
Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii also met with Trump. She endorsed Bernie Sanders during his bid for the Democratic nomination against Hillary Clinton, but agrees with Trump’s opposition to increased U.S. military involvement in Syria.
Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said not all of those who have met with Trump will get jobs. But she said, “They are all incredibly important in offering their points of view, their experience and certainly their vision for the country.”
Trump planned to leave New York on Tuesday or Wednesday to spend the Thanksgiving holiday at his Florida resort.
By Voice of America