President Trump formally abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Monday, pulling away from Asia and scrapping his predecessor’s most significant trade deal on his first full weekday in office, administration officials said.He made the promise, and he kept it.
Mr. Trump sharply criticized the partnership agreement during last year’s campaign, calling it a bad deal for American workers. Although the deal had not been approved by Congress, the decision to withdraw the American signature at the start of Mr. Trump’s administration is a signal that he plans to follow through on promises to take a more aggressive stance against foreign competitors.
In other action on a busy opening day, Mr. Trump ordered a hiring freeze in the federal work force, exempting the military. And he reinstituted limits on nongovernmental organizations that operate overseas and receive American taxpayer money from performing abortions. Republican presidents typically impose those restrictions soon after taking office, and Democratic presidents typically lift them when they take over.
The president’s withdrawal from the Asian-Pacific trade pact amounted to a drastic reversal of decades of economic policy in which presidents of both parties have lowered trade barriers and expanded ties around the world. Although candidates have often criticized trade deals on the campaign trail, those who made it to the White House, including President Barack Obama, ended up extending their reach.
Bill Clinton promised side agreements, and never tried to get them, and Barack Obama moved heaven and earth in an attempt to pass the TPP and passed CAFTA and similar deals, with their pro big pharma, pro big Ag, pro Wall Street provisions.
Unfortunately, while putting a stake through the heart of the TPP is a good thing, Donald Trump promised a lot of stuff that is simply batsh%$ insane, and it looks like he's going to keep those promises too.
He's already at work on NAFTA:
Aides signaled that Mr. Trump may also move quickly on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. He is scheduling meetings with the leaders of Canada and Mexico, the two main partners in that pact, first negotiated by the elder President George Bush and pushed through Congress by President Bill Clinton. Nafta has been a major driver of American trade for nearly two decades, but it has long been divisive, with critics blaming it for lost jobs and lower wages.
Do not be heartened that the spray tan orange stopped clock is right once today.
We are, as the Chinese are wont to say, living in interesting times.