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.
Image source Flickr
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It is typically rescinded by incoming Democratic presidents, including Barack Obama in 2009, and reinstated by Republican presidents.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.
Donald Trump has announced the United States will quit the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal on his first day in the White House.
The president-elect 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.
Donald Trump also pledged to reduce “job-killing restrictions” on coal production and stop visa abuses.
However, there was no mention of repealing ObamaCare or building a wall on the southern border with Mexico, two actions Donald Trump said during the campaign he would do as soon as he assumed power.
During the presidential election campaign, Donald Trump gave broadbrush arguments against the TPP deal, and used plenty of colorful language.
In June 2016, Donald Trump 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”.
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, Donald Trump said that the US would “negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores”.
In the video message, Donald Trump said his governing agenda would be based on “putting America first” and that he and the new administration would “bring back our jobs”.
Besides quitting the TPP, Donald Trump committed to several other executive actions that he said he would take on day one.
The president-elect said he would cancel restrictions on US energy production.
Image source Flickr
In 2015, President Barack Obama brought in the Clean Power Plan, an anti-climate change measure which aimed to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector by 32% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels.
The Clean Power Plan, already on hold due to legal challenges, would have restricted coal power plants and came up against strong opposition in areas where leaders said the plans would devastate local economies.
Donald Trump said: “I will cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy, including shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high-paying jobs.
“That’s what we want – that’s what we’ve been waiting for.”
The president-elect, a real estate mogul himself, has been strongly opposed to business regulations throughout his campaign. He blamed them for stifling business. A month before the election, he said that if he won, 70% of regulations could be axed, but safety and environmental rules would stay.
Now Donald Trump has pledged that for every new regulation brought into force, two old regulations will be eliminated.
Political leaders in Asia in particular have reacted strongly.
Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe said the TPP would be “meaningless” without the involvement of the US.
New Zealand’s PM John Key said the US was “not an island”.
Economist Harumi Taguchi said China could move in to fill the “void” left by the deal’s collapse.
However, Malaysia’s PM Najib Razak said it was President-elect Donald Trump’s right “to make the policy decisions he thinks right”.
Hillary Clinton has come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal championed by President Barack Obama.
The historic trade deal involves 12 countries along the Pacific rim, including the US, Australia and Japan.
In a recent interview, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said the agreement left many “unanswered questions” and did not met the “high bar” she had set.
“I am not in favor of what I have learned about it,” she told PBS.
The former Secretary of State joins rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, in opposing the agreement.
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The deal took five years to negotiate and covers 40% of the global economy.
In an interview on October 7, Hillary Clinton said she would only support a trade bill that helped American workers.
“I have said from the very beginning that we had to have a trade agreement that would create good American jobs, raise wages and advance our national security and I still believe that is the high bar we have to meet,” she said.
President Barack Obama, for whom the deal would be a prime economic achievement of his second term, said the deal would level the global playing field for US workers.
“[The deal] includes the strongest commitments on labor and the environment of any trade agreement in history,” he said after the agreement was reached.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton also plans to propose a tax on high-frequency trading, her campaign said.
The tax would target securities transactions with excessive levels of order cancelations that can destabilize the markets, a campaign aide said.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – the world’s biggest ever trade deal – was signed into existence on October 5.
The TPP cuts trade tariffs and sets common standards in trade for 12 Pacific rim countries, including the United States and Japan.
It marks the end of five years of often bitter and tense negotiations.
The deal covers about 40% of the world economy and was signed after five days of talks in Atlanta in the US.
Supporters say it could be worth billions of dollars to the countries involved but critics say it was negotiated in secret and is biased towards corporations.
Despite the success of the negotiations, the deal still has to be ratified by lawmakers in each country.
For President Barack Obama, the trade deal is a major victory.
He said: “This partnership levels the playing field for our farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers by eliminating more than 18,000 taxes that various countries put on our products.”
Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, said: “Wall Street and other big corporations have won again.”
Bernie Sanders said the deal would cost US jobs and hurt consumers and that he would “do all that I can to defeat this agreement” in Congress.
China was not involved in the agreement, and the Obama administration is hoping it will be forced to accept most of the standards laid down by TTP.
He said: “When more than 95% of our potential customers live outside our borders, we can’t let countries like China write the rules of the global economy.
“We should write those rules, opening new markets to American products while setting high standards for protecting workers and preserving our environment.”
Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe told reporters the deal was a “major outcome not just for Japan but also for the future of the Asia-Pacific” region.
The final round of talks was delayed by negotiations over how long pharmaceutical corporations should be allowed to keep a monopoly period on their drugs.
The US wanted 12 years of protection, saying that by guaranteeing revenues over a long period it encouraged companies to invest in new research.
Australia, New Zealand and several public health groups argued for five years before allowing cheaper generic or “copy-cat” into the market.
They said a shorter patent would bring down drug costs for health services and bring lifesaving medicine to poorer patients.
Even though a compromise was reached, no definitive protection period was confirmed.
Speaking at a press conference following the deal, US Trade Representative Michael Froman hailed the deal as the first to set a period of protection for patents on new drugs, which he said would “incentivize” drug producers.
However, the Washington-based Biotechnology Industry Association said it was “very disappointed” by the reports that the agreement fell short of the 12-year protections sought by the US.
The auto industry was another area of intense negotiation with countries agonizing over how much of a vehicle had to be manufactured within the TPP countries in order to qualify for duty-free status.
Agriculture proved another sticking point with countries like New Zealand wanting more access to markets in Canada, Mexico, Japan and the US.
Canada meanwhile fought to keep access to its domestic dairy and poultry markets strictly limited. The issue and its impact on rural voters is particularly sensitive ahead of the federal election in two weeks time.
Copies of one of the biggest free trade deals are sitting in separate rooms of the Capitol. With access to only staffers and members of congress, many are wondering about the secrecy behind the deal. Unfortunately, this is how negotiations work when it comes to trade deals.
The Secrecy Surrounding TPP
Because this document is classified, official parties viewing it aren’t able to make copies or take notes that they’ve made while viewing it out the door with them. Leaders of the twelve countries involved in the deal are so fearful that their negotiations will be undercut, they don’t want what anything to be leaked until the full deal has been completed. Critical opponents of TPP say that they’ve worked in the past with both the Busch and Clinton administrations, and the current Obama administration has been the most secretive. Opponents of the deal aren’t the only ones pressuring for more details. A 100,000 bounty was recently announced by WikiLeaks for any text surrounding the TPP negotiation.
What is this Massive Deal About?
The TPP is a deal that includes 12 nations such as Australia, Japan, Mexico, Canada, and the United States to name a few. If passed, it would join together 40 percent of the world’s economy. The U.S. has been integral in the negotiations since the early stages of Obama’s first term in office. However, all that hard work could be undone if a vote to place it on the “fast track” fails to go their way. Most of the support for the deal comes from the larger business community and manufacturers. Voting in support could mean that manufacturers could sell products overseas. It would also mean an increase in world-wide competitiveness and being able to create more jobs. However, many question what this would mean for the American worker and if they would lose out on employment opportunities being outsourced to other countries.
Hard to Comprehend
President Obama has had his hands full with ISIS and Iraq. However, the TPP agreement is something that he’s been involved in since the beginning. He’s even a master with the dialogue and text. When it comes to Americans comprehending the proposal, even if the majority of them had a chance to review the TPP deal, it probably wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense. Texts in regards to trade negotiations are blanketed by extra wording, brackets and notes. Many times the words are only decipherable to those familiar with this sort of deal. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal in April, President Obama said the agreement would be available for review when it’s done. In the meantime, negotiators working on the trade are barred from sharing any information on the text and details inside the trade deal. Countries involved in the negotiations are also banned from talking freely about it. They even make certain pacts before the process begins. In addition to setting off political alarms, the talks would grind to a halt if any information was divulged. Representatives from large corporations and labor union leaders are able to get more information about the agreement than that of the general public.
Congress Has Taken Special Interest in the Deal
Congress has increased their interest in the TPP agreement in recent months. However, during 2012 to March 2015, only 40 House members and three senators chose to take part in the negotiating text briefings. As the Democratic opposition became more apparent, the text of the TPP agreement was move into the Capitol. Lawmakers are now able to review it any time they choose. Because some members of Congress say that it’s so riddled with dense text and jargon, they feel the trade staffers should be able to take it with them for further review.
Leaked Drafts of the Text
While the TPP agreement has been kept secretive, there are some leaked drafts of the text. Some of the items of note include more restrictions than the recent international standards and major changes to the copyright laws of other countries. When asked why the public should care what’s inside the text, the TPP could raise numerous concerns in regards to due process, freedom of expression, innovation, and the future of the Internet’s world-wide infrastructure.