Trump pulls U.S. out of Pacific trade deal, loosening Asia ties

Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:58pm EST
 
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By Steve Holland and Ayesha Rascoe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump formally withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal on Monday, distancing America from its Asian allies, as China's influence in the region rises.

Fulfilling a campaign pledge to end American involvement in the 2015 pact, Trump signed an executive order in the Oval Office pulling the United States out of the 12-nation TPP.

Trump, who wants to boost U.S. manufacturing, said he would seek one-on-one trade deals with countries that would allow the United States to quickly terminate them in 30 days "if somebody misbehaves."

"We're going to stop the ridiculous trade deals that have taken everybody out of our country and taken companies out of our country," the Republican president said as he met with union leaders in the White House's Roosevelt Room.

The TPP accord, backed heavily by U.S. business, was negotiated by former Democratic President Barack Obama's administration but never approved by Congress.

Obama had framed TPP, which excluded China, as an effort to write Asia's trade rules before Beijing could, establishing U.S. economic leadership in the region as part of his "pivot to Asia."

China has proposed a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific and has also championed the Southeast Asian-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Trump has sparked worries in Japan and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific with his opposition to the TPP and his campaign demands for U.S. allies to pay more for their security.   Continued...

 
U.S. President Donald Trump plays host to a reception and meeting with U.S. congressional leaders including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (L) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) (2nd L) in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 23, 2017.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst