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tpp trade deal

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The 12-nation trade deal was a linchpin of former President Barack Obama’s Asia policy.

Donald Trump said as he dumped the pact with a stroke of a pen: “Great thing for the American worker what we just did.”

The president also cut funding for international groups that provide abortions, and froze hiring of some federal workers.

Donald Trump’s executive order on TPP was largely symbolic since the deal has not been ratified by a divided US Congress.

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump criticized the TPP as a “potential disaster for our country”, arguing it harmed US manufacturing.

Donald Trump’s first weekday of administration began with a flurry of executive orders, which allow him to bypass Congress by issuing legally binding directions, mostly of limited scope, to federal agencies.

Image source Flickr

The president also signed an order blocking foreign aid or federal funding for any nongovernmental organization that provides abortions abroad.

The so-called Mexico City policy was first established by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

It is typically rescinded by incoming Democratic presidents, including Barack Obama in 2009, and reinstated by Republican presidents.

Donald Trump also signed an executive action placing a hiring freeze on non-military federal workers.

Also on January 23, the new president pledged to “massively” cut regulations and taxes on companies, but impose “a very major border tax” if they move factories outside the US.

“All you have to do is stay,” he told executives from 12 companies including Lockheed Martin, Under Armor, Whirlpool, Tesla and Johnson & Johnson.

After meeting business leaders at the White House, Donald Trump pledged to lower corporate taxes to 15% or 20%, from the current 35%, and slash regulations by up to 75% if they keep jobs in the US.

“A company that wants to fire all of its people in the United States, and build some factory someplace else, and then thinks that that product is going to just flow across the border into the United States – that’s not going to happen,” he said.

Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris told reporters afterwards he would take the president at his word.

He said: “He’s not going to do anything to harm competitiveness.

“He’s going to actually make us all more competitive.”

Donald Trump – whose protectionist rhetoric sent the US dollar falling – is due to meet labor leaders in the afternoon.

The Senate will meanwhile vote on his nomination of Mike Pompeo to be CIA director.

Rex Tillerson’s nomination as secretary of state was effectively guaranteed on January 23 as Senator Marco Rubio dropped his objections.

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said it was “unquestionable” that Donald Trump’s inauguration “was the most watched” ever.

Although Ronald Reagan’s was top in terms of TV figures, attracting 41.8 million viewers, Sean Spicer pointed out that the 30.6 million who tuned in to see Donald Trump take the oath of office did not include the millions who watched the ceremony online.

Sean Spicer’s remarks followed Donald Trump’s stinging attack at the weekend on media reporting of attendance figures and the weather at his inauguration.

Donald Trump has announced the United States will quit the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal on his first day in the White House.

The president-elect made the announcement in a video message outlining 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.

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

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

During the presidential election campaign, Donald Trump gave broadbrush arguments against the TPP deal, and used plenty of colorful language.

In June 2016, Donald Trump described it as “another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country, just a continuing rape of our country”. In another speech he referred to the TPP as “the greatest danger yet”.

While there was plenty of talk about “taking back control” of the US economy, there were few specifics.

Announcing the plan to pull out of the TPP, Donald Trump said that the US would “negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores”.

In the video message, Donald Trump said his governing agenda would be based on “putting America first” and that he and the new administration would “bring back our jobs”.

Besides quitting the TPP, Donald Trump committed to several other executive actions that he said he would take on day one.

The president-elect said he would cancel restrictions on US energy production.

Image source Flickr

Image source Flickr

In 2015, President Barack Obama brought in the Clean Power Plan, an anti-climate change measure which aimed to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector by 32% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels.

The Clean Power Plan, already on hold due to legal challenges, would have restricted coal power plants and came up against strong opposition in areas where leaders said the plans would devastate local economies.

Donald Trump said: “I will cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy, including shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high-paying jobs.

“That’s what we want – that’s what we’ve been waiting for.”

The president-elect, a real estate mogul himself, has been strongly opposed to business regulations throughout his campaign. He blamed them for stifling business. A month before the election, he said that if he won, 70% of regulations could be axed, but safety and environmental rules would stay.

Now Donald Trump has pledged that for every new regulation brought into force, two old regulations will be eliminated.

Political leaders in Asia in particular have reacted strongly.

Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe said the TPP would be “meaningless” without the involvement of the US.

New Zealand’s PM John Key said the US was “not an island”.

Economist Harumi Taguchi said China could move in to fill the “void” left by the deal’s collapse.

However, Malaysia’s PM Najib Razak said it was President-elect Donald Trump’s right “to make the policy decisions he thinks right”.