Eleven Pacific Rim countries have decided to move forward, even without U.S. support, on a multilateral trade agreement set in motion by the Obama administration.
In the first few days of his administration, President Donald Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-nation free trade agreement. At the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, trade representatives from the remaining eleven members of the TPP agreed to the core components of a new multilateral agreement — the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Voice of America reports.
The TPP faced bipartisan opposition in its final days, dashing the hopes of the Obama administration, which spent seven years negotiating the agreement. (RELATED: Trump Signs Executive Order Killing Obama’s Legacy Trade Deal)
Speaking at the APEC summit, Trump declared that the days of detrimental multilateral agreements are over while reassuring regional states that the U.S. is willing to partner with them on fair bilateral trade deals.
“We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore,” Trump said at the economic forum, calling for an end to “chronic trade abuses” and “large agreements that tie our hands, surrender our sovereignty, and make meaningful enforcement practically impossible.”
Some argue that abandoning the TPP damages America’s credibility and impacts our ability to export goods and services to a region critical to the global economy. Others assert that such agreements put America’s national interests on the back burner, creating a situation that benefits the region at U.S. expense.
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