Trump vows to tear up Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership

22 November 2016

US president-elect Donald Trump has issued a video outlining his policy plans for his first 100 days in office prominent among which is to issue a note of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ''from day one''.

Trump also said he would investigate work visa abuses.

In the brief clip posted to YouTube on Monday, Trump said that ''our transition team is working very smoothly, efficiently, and effectively'', contradicting a wealth of media reports telling of chaos in Trump Tower as Trump struggles to build a team.

He said that he was going to issue a note of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, calling it ''a potential disaster for our country''. Instead he said he would ''negotiate fair bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back''.

Hours before Trump's announcement, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned that the TPP would be ''meaningless'' without US participation.

Speaking to reporters in Buenos Aires on Monday, Abe conceded that other TPP countries had not discussed how to rescue the agreement if Trump carried out his promise to withdraw.

Abe, a vocal supporter of the 12-nation agreement, appears to have failed in his recent attempts to coax Trump out of his ''America first'' protectionism.

The TPP, which excludes China, is thought to have been high on Abe's agenda when he became the first foreign leader to meet the president-elect in New York last week.

While details of their 90-minute meeting have not been released, Abe would have used the time to try to persuade Trump to go back on his campaign threat to pull the US out of TPP on day one of his presidency.

''The TPP would be meaningless without the United States,'' Abe said, after Japan and other TPP countries had discussed the agreement on the sidelines of the Apec summit in Lima at the weekend.

He added that the pact could not be renegotiated. ''This would disturb the fundamental balance of benefits,'' he said.

Trump's determination to rip up the agreement will have horrified Abe, particularly after the property billionaire appeared to have softened his stance on other campaign threats, such as downgrading Washington's security commitment to allies Japan and South Korea.

Meanwhile, the Australian government seemed reluctant to give up on the TPP deal entirely. Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has just returned from a 25,000km round-trip to Peru to reinforce support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, stressed the importance of the agreement as a ''strategic commitment.''

Turnbull said it was up to Trump and his new Congress to make decisions about what they believed was in their nation's interest.

''It is very clear that from Australia's point of view, getting greater access for Australian exports ... to those big markets is manifestly in our interest,'' he said.

 search domain-b