A Fatal Blow to the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Trade, outsourcing and the economy were key themes in the 2016 presidential election. As such, current and past trade agreements involving the United States were part of the inconsistent, often hypocritical debate.
A specific trade agreement that could not manage to escape the spotlight was the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
A multinational deal between the United States and numerous countries in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, it was signed on February 4th 2016 and has been awaiting ratification by all signatories since.
The problem? It was opposed by both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the former of which reigned victorious at the conclusion of the election cycle on November 8th.
On November 11th, the White House announced they would not pursue passing the agreement due to Trump’s election to the presidency. Ten days later, President-elect Trump released a video in which he declared that the United States would withdraw from the TPP on his first day in office.
Prominent critics of the TPP, which include former Presidential candidate and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, argue that the trade agreement would open the door to increased outsourcing of American jobs and currency manipulation by some of the signatories.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is an attack on America’s business,” said Donald Trump in a Twitter post. “It does not stop Japan’s currency manipulation. This is a bad deal.”
Some drew parallels between the TPP and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the latter being a free trade agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico that came into force in 1994. The deal was critiqued for many of the same perceived flaws that the TPP possesses.
Critics also contend that lack of transparency in the agreement’s fine details and questionable articles regarding the human rights situations of some of the signatory nations (notably Malaysia) are distressing.
Proponents of the TPP, including former Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, argue that withdrawing from the agreement will diminish America’s economic power in world politics and open the door for China to interfere in the economies of Southeast Asia.
Additionally, some economists state that the TPP would help American businesses easily access markets overseas, bringing prosperity to consumers and the economy.
Regardless of your opinion on the TPP and its potential effects, it is clear that the deal is effectively dead without the United States behind it.