President Donald Trump’s campaign criticism of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact came to fruition on Monday as he signed an executive order announcing his plan to withdraw the United States from the deal, The Hill reported.
The TPP agreement, the cornerstone of former President Barack Obama’s attempt to balance Chinese influence in Asia, included 12 Pacific Rim countries and aimed to boost exports, remove tariffs and non-tariff barriers, open access to more markets and usher in transparency in trade rules, according to USA Today.
Although the agreement was signed last year by Obama, it had not yet been ratified by Congress, and because of Trump’s executive order, new negotiations will take its place.
“We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” Trump said as he signed the order in the Oval Office, according to the Associated Press. “Great thing for the American worker what we just did.”
Trump has pledged that his administration will implement trade policies aimed at halting the number of jobs leaving the U.S., which includes renegotiating deals with the other countries involved in the TPP who have been threatened by China’s growing economic clout.
Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, Chile, Brunei, Singapore and New Zealand were all parties to the agreement, although not all had officially accepted its terms.
The president argued that withdrawal from the agreement was necessary to prevent the drainage of jobs from the U.S. and to protect our industrial heartlands, according to the AFP.
However, not everyone agreed, including some within his own party.
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, an occasional Trump critic, warned that withdrawing from TPP was a “serious mistake that will have lasting consequences for America’s economy and our strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region,” according to The Guardian.
Meanwhile, on the Democrat side, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont praised Trump’s decision, saying he was “glad the Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead and gone.”
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