Trump pledges U.S. withdrawal from TPP on ‘day one’

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to start the United States’ exit from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal on “day one” of his administration in January.

In a video released Monday, Trump said his transition team had been directed to put together “a list of executive actions we can take on day one” following his inauguration, scheduled for Jan. 20.

Specifically on trade, he said, “I am going to issue a notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country.”

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Rather, he said, “we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores.”

Canada, a TPP member, already has free trade deals in place with the U.S. and three of the 10 other TPP partners, but had expected to see tariffs on Canadian products in TPP markets eliminated or dramatically reduced over 15 years following ratification.

Apart from Canada and the U.S., TPP signing countries include Mexico, Chile, Peru, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam.

However, the deal can come into effect only if at least six countries representing 85 per cent of the economy for the TPP region ratify it. Under that requirement, observers have said, a TPP deal could not take effect if either the U.S. or Japan were to withdraw.

Canadian ag commodity groups have previously warned that the TPP represents Canada’s chance to level the trade playing field, in cases where TPP nations besides Canada have already brokered preferential market access with each other in previous bilateral deals.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking Sunday after the closing of APEC talks in Peru, had said Canada was keeping its options open on future trade deals.

Asked if the TPP had any future following Trump’s election, Trudeau was quoted Sunday by Reuters as saying “We’re not going jump to any conclusions about what the incoming U.S. administration will do… as we move forward we’re keeping our options open.” Network; reporting for Reuters by Rosalba O’Brien in Lima.

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