Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Trump: I'll Ditch TPP Trade Deal on Day One of My Presidency

US President-elect Donald Trump has confirmed that the US will pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—a trade deal involving 12 Pacific Rim nations—"on day one" of his presidency.

Trump, in a YouTube video outlining plans for his first 100 days in office, said: "I'm going to issue our notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country."

He added: "Instead, we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back on to American shores."

An emphasis on bilateral trade deals may call into question both the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), involving dozens of nations, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Although the latter is between the US and the European Union, the complex political structure of the EU means that effectively 28 nations are involved and can influence the outcome of the deal. This was demonstrated by the dramatic intervention of the Walloon regional government in the signing of CETA, the bloc's trade deal with Canada.

The UK government will doubtless welcome this shift to bilateral trade deals, but one reason why Trump may view them favourably is because it places the US in the driving seat as the larger player. This means that a post-Brexit UK will be in a weak position when it comes to negotiating a deal on its own with the US. For all its many flaws, TTIP has the virtue of a more even balance between the US and the EU, since the two economies are comparable in size.

During the video message—which lasted less than three minutes—Trump touched on a number of areas that are likely to be of interest to Ars readers. However, his only explicit mention of the digital world was of its darker side: "I will ask the Department of Defense, and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, to develop a comprehensive plan to protect America's vital infrastructure from cyberattacks."

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