President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The 12-nation trade deal was a linchpin of former President Barack Obama’s Asia policy.
Donald Trump said as he dumped the pact with a stroke of a pen: “Great thing for the American worker what we just did.”
The president also cut funding for international groups that provide abortions, and froze hiring of some federal workers.
Donald Trump’s executive order on TPP was largely symbolic since the deal has not been ratified by a divided US Congress.
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump criticized the TPP as a “potential disaster for our country”, arguing it harmed US manufacturing.
Donald Trump’s first weekday of administration began with a flurry of executive orders, which allow him to bypass Congress by issuing legally binding directions, mostly of limited scope, to federal agencies.
The president also signed an order blocking foreign aid or federal funding for any nongovernmental organization that provides abortions abroad.
The so-called Mexico City policy was first established by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1984.
It is typically rescinded by incoming Democratic presidents, including Barack Obama in 2009, and reinstated by Republican presidents.
Donald Trump also signed an executive action placing a hiring freeze on non-military federal workers.
Also on January 23, the new president pledged to “massively” cut regulations and taxes on companies, but impose “a very major border tax” if they move factories outside the US.
“All you have to do is stay,” he told executives from 12 companies including Lockheed Martin, Under Armor, Whirlpool, Tesla and Johnson & Johnson.
After meeting business leaders at the White House, Donald Trump pledged to lower corporate taxes to 15% or 20%, from the current 35%, and slash regulations by up to 75% if they keep jobs in the US.
“A company that wants to fire all of its people in the United States, and build some factory someplace else, and then thinks that that product is going to just flow across the border into the United States – that’s not going to happen,” he said.
Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris told reporters afterwards he would take the president at his word.
He said: “He’s not going to do anything to harm competitiveness.
“He’s going to actually make us all more competitive.”
Donald Trump – whose protectionist rhetoric sent the US dollar falling – is due to meet labor leaders in the afternoon.
The Senate will meanwhile vote on his nomination of Mike Pompeo to be CIA director.
Rex Tillerson’s nomination as secretary of state was effectively guaranteed on January 23 as Senator Marco Rubio dropped his objections.
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said it was “unquestionable” that Donald Trump’s inauguration “was the most watched” ever.
Although Ronald Reagan’s was top in terms of TV figures, attracting 41.8 million viewers, Sean Spicer pointed out that the 30.6 million who tuned in to see Donald Trump take the oath of office did not include the millions who watched the ceremony online.
Sean Spicer’s remarks followed Donald Trump’s stinging attack at the weekend on media reporting of attendance figures and the weather at his inauguration.