“It’s a great thing for the American worker, what we just did,” Trump said on Monday after signing an order withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord with 11 other nations. He didn’t sign any actions to direct a renegotiation of the Nafta accord with Mexico and Canada, yet he said on Sunday he would begin talks with the two leaders on modifying the accord, BBG reported. “We’ve been talking about this a long time,” Trump said.
Trump’s trade focus fulfills a campaign promise to rewrite America’s trade policy during his first days as president. In declaring his determination to renegotiate Nafta, Trump would rework an agreement that has governed commerce in much of the Western hemisphere for 22 years. By scrapping the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord negotiated by former President Barack Obama, Trump will delight many of his most fervent supporters as well as a good many Democrats, while opening an economic vacuum in Asia that China is eager to fill.
Trump campaigned against the TPP and other trade deals, including Nafta, during his campaign for the White House. In a video released in November, Trump promised to exit TPP “on day one,” calling it “a potential disaster for our country.”
A reversal in U.S. trade policy could make 2017 the year that efforts to build multinational trade zones crumble, returning the focus to tough, bilateral dealmaking.
In October 2015, officials from 12 nations including the U.S. and Japan gathered in the American city of Atlanta to ink the historic Trans-Pacific Partnership, confident of the dawning of a new age of trade governed by such high-level, multilateral agreements. Yet that dream lies all but dead just over a year later, not least due to Donald Trump’s presidential victory and his pledge to pull the U.S. from the agreement upon taking office Jan. 20.
Many bilateral free trade agreements, which reduce or abolish tariffs and set rules for trade in goods and services between two nations, have been struck over the years. Multilateral agreements extend this notion to the regional level and improve security in the areas they cover, further greasing the wheels of commerce.
Yet Trump prefers his trade pacts one on one — the better to drive hard bargains, leveraging U.S. economic and diplomatic might to secure the most advantageous terms. Multilateral pacts involve far more careful compromise and require each nation to give and take small concessions rather than pushing for an unambiguous win.
Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president could upend efforts to fight climate change and shift the global landscape for commerce, if he steers the country away from globalization and free trade.
As the Republican’s victory grew apparent Wednesday morning, the mood at the COP 22 United Nations climate conference in Marrakech, Morocco, turned subdued. Trump has repeatedly voiced his skepticism about the science behind climate change. Research and advocacy groups now worry about the future of the deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions inked in Paris last year.
Though Trump will wield much power as president, even he does not have the power “to stop the impacts of climate change,” said Alden Meyer, strategy and policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists. A Chinese environmentalist group said the country would continue increasing efforts to combat climate change.
The Paris agreement aims to limit the average rise in global temperatures over preindustrial levels to less than 2 C. Enacting the pact was a high priority for President Barack Obama, whose cooperation with China helped bring the agreement into force Friday, less than a year after it was adopted.