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President-elect Donald Trump has confirmed that, during his first day in office, he will withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade treaty.
In a short video on YouTube, he said that he would immediately "issue a notification of intent to withdraw from the TPP – a potential disaster for our country. Instead, we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores." The decision was expected, but perhaps not as one of the first executive actions "he would take on day one."
Covering some 40 percent of the global economy, TPP was signed in February this year by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. Approximately 86 percent of tariffs on industrial goods will be eliminated if the agreement enters into force.
With TPP in doubt, China has been pushing for a completion of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), as part of its longer term objective to oversee the formation of a wider Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific.
While it is unlikely to have the same level of market access benefits as TPP, RCEP aims to bring together the existing free trade agreements of China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) into a single enhanced comprehensive agreement. ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
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