US President Trump signs Executive Order to withdraw US from Trans-Pacific Partnership

Washington DC: President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to withdraw US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, following the promise from his presidential campaign. On Monday, Trump signed the Executive Order and announced US’s exit from the TPP. This announcement has hit Japan the most, while at the same time other countries in the Asia-Pacific region have started taking steps towards a new agreement. Ex-officials from US have reacted strongly to this by saying that the executive order by Trump is China’s first victory. 

Trans Pacific Partnership

During his presidential campaign Donald Trump had repeatedly stressed that TPP is a bad agreement and promised that it will be scrapped. After being elected, Trump had announced a 100 days agenda with ‘America first’ as the main principle. One of the points in this agenda was that on his very first day as the president, an executive order to withdraw US from the TPP would come into place. It also assured that instead of TPP, a new and better bilateral trade agreement will be started. Accordingly on Monday, the president signed the executive order. 

Trump said that we have been talking about this for a long time. It’s a great thing for the American worker, he added. Labour unions across the US have welcomed the president’s decision. Senator Bernie Sanders, who was an opponent in the elections has also supported the decision. 

However, senior leader of the Republican party Senator John McCain and former US trade representative Michael Froman have strongly criticized this move as a grave mistake. Mccain has warned that this would have grave consequences for US relations in the Asia Pacific region. On the other hand, Froman has said that Trump’s decision is a huge victory for China.

Japan is said to be the most impacted nation from US withdrawal. Just last week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had got support of the parliament on TPP. He had also assured that he would try to pursue the new US government to join the TPP. However Trump’s order has clearly indicated that this option is no more available for Japan. After Trump’s victory in the US elections, Abe had indicated that TPP would have no meaning without US. 

It now seems that with US opting out, the doors of TPP are closed for Japan too. Other countries in the Asia Pacific region such as Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia have started working towards a new agreement. It is said that these countries are keen on having an agreement with China. China has proposed a ‘Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)’ for the Asia-Pacific countries.  

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