US to quit TPP trade deal on first day in office


President-elect Donald Trump says the US will quit the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal on his first day in the White House.

He made the announcement in a video messageoutlining what he intends to do first when he takes office in January.

The TPP trade deal was signed by 12 countries which together cover 40% of the world’s economy.

The Republican also pledged to reduce “job-killing restrictions” on coal production and stop visa abuses.

But there was no mention of repealing Obamacare or building a wall on the southern border with Mexico, two actions he said during the campaign he would do as soon as he assumed power.

His surprise election win two weeks ago has sparked protests across the US.

The TPP was agreed in 2015 by countries including Japan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico, but is not yet ratified.

Its aim was to deepen economic ties and boost growth but its opponents say it was negotiated in secret and it favours big corporations.

Reaction to Trump quitting TPP

“Not a surprise, but his trade policies will undermine the gains that TPP would have brought for the US.” Parag Khanna, Centre on Asia and Globalisation

“Very depressing news. It means the end of US leadership on trade and the passing of the baton to Asia.” Deborah Elms, Asian Trade Center

“The collapse of the TPP will now create a void in Asia. There is lots of talk about China now moving in to fill it. Harumi Taguchi, economist

Read reaction in full

What is the TPP and why does it matter?

Asia-Pacific leaders meeting in Peru over the weekend said they will continue to pursue free trade deals despite Mr Trump’s opposition.

But on Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the TPP trade deal would be meaningless without the involvement of the US.

Analysis: Karishma Vaswani, Asia Business Correspondent

President-elect Trump signalling the death of the TPP is a big blow to many parts of emerging Asia. Sure, the other countries could go ahead, as some have signalled, and continue with the deal on their own – but what would be the point without unfettered access to the US market?

Vietnam and Malaysia were set to gain the most from the deal. They already have access to the US markets for their products, but were hoping to see tariffs on some of their key exports vanish altogether.

China could step in with a regional trade deal, also known as the RCEP. But would a Chinese initiated regional trade deal bring the same benefits? Not really, say some analysts – most Asian countries already have preferential access to China’s markets under the China-ASEAN free trade agreement of 2010.

But you could see some Asian countries that were due to be excluded from the TPP – like the Philippines, Thailand and South Korea – benefit from the RCEP.

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