President-Elect Trump Pledges to Withdraw U.S. from TPP
In a video message released Nov. 21, president-elect Donald Trump pledged to issue a notification of intent to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he described as a “potential disaster for our country.” Instead, Trump said the U.S. would negotiate “fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores.” This is one of several executive actions the president-elect vowed to take on his first day in office. Other immediate measures include a rule that would ostensibly eliminate two old regulations for every new regulation issued as well as more stringent restrictions on lobbying carried out by former executive officials.
The current White House expressed disappointment at Trump’s words but Republicans in Congress still believe they can work with the president-elect to advance U.S. trade priorities. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) indicated Nov. 22 that his advice to the new administration would be to strictly enforce trade agreements but not withdraw from TPP or NAFTA because the U.S. needs “more customers around the world” and the Asia-Pacific region “will hold half of the middle-class customers on the planet by the end of the decade.” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) also supports a strong TPP that meets the standards of Trade Promotion Authority, although he recently raised the possibility of pursuing a bilateral deal with Japan if there is no path forward for TPP.