President Donald Trump has taken office, and he is not wasting any time. In his first full business day in office, one of Trump’s first acts was via executive order to withdraw the U.S. from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.
With the stroke of a pen, Trump undid years of negotiations by the former Obama administration dating back to 2012 in pursuing the global trade agenda.
As negotiations pressed on with and Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, Congress considered and granted trade authority to former President Barack Obama in 2015, with the trade agreement itself being presented on the eve of the presidential primaries.
At the time, it gave Trump fresh fodder to campaign on, with Obama’s move leading some observers to say it propelled Trump to the GOP nomination. Then, Trump’s position on the issue — differing so dramatically from other candidates in the Republican Party and appealing directly to union households in the Rust Belt — pushed Hillary Clinton into opposition on the issue.
Finally, it is largely credited with Trump’s Rust Belt sweep on Nov. 8, winning Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin.
In short, opposing the TPP and other bad trade deals is the reason Trump won, and on day one, he remembered those who got him elected.
In a statement, Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning praised Trump, saying, “Elections have consequences, and the globalists lost with the victory of President Trump in November. The Trans-Pacific Partnership was always an ill-conceived attempt to usurp U.S. sovereignty and harm American workers by shifting more production overseas. President Trump’s withdrawal from the TPP keeps his promise to put America first and to refocus U.S. trade policy away from massive, multinational deals to bilateral agreements that serve U.S. interests.”
Manning added, “Many politicians say one thing in a campaign, and do another once elected. Ending the TPP was a foundational part of the Trump campaign agenda, and today, Trump has demonstrated to the American people that when he said it was a ‘bad, bad deal’ he meant it.”
Americans for Limited Government also updated its Stopbadtradedeals.org website to urge activists to thank President Trump for keeping his campaign pledge and withdrawing the U.S. from the TPP, with ads now appearing on a number of high profile conservatives news sites.
For the first time in decades, the march towards globalism has been stalled. No longer is the U.S. negotiating trade deals in the interests of foreign governments and international boards.
Instead, Trump has signaled a strong intent to stop shifting U.S. production and jobs overseas, and to take on currency manipulation by trade partners — a tax on our goods and a subsidy for theirs. For too long, the U.S. has looked the other way while foreigners have cheated on currency and America’s workforce has paid the price through stagnant wages and fewer opportunities.
Now, that can begin to change, but defeating the TPP does not end trade authority. It lasts through 2018, and Trump can request that it be extended through 2021 under law, and the President has stated an interest in bilateral trade deals.
We’re still going to trade, just not these huge deals that serve foreign interests. Withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the first step, and with it, a new America first era of history has begun.
Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.