On Monday, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Economic Cooperation Agreement (TPP), signed by his predecessor, Barack Obama, to form the world’s largest free trade zone.
This treaty, conceived as a counterweight to China’s growing influence, was signed in 2015 by 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, but it has not entered into force. In the election campaign, Trump called it “terrible” for American workers.
What we just did is a big deal for American workers,”
commented Trump as he signed the order.
The TPP was signed by 12 countries representing almost 40% of the world economy: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, the United States, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
Obama’s administration saw the TPP as the best possible treaty because it included not only the removal of trade barriers, but also labor law, environment, intellectual property, and state procurement rules.
A number of non-governmental organizations question it by claiming that it has very opaque standards for workers and the environment. They further contend that it violates sovereign rules of member countries and even limits access to medicines.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a fervent proponent of the treaty, admitted in late 2016 that without the US the TPP would not make sense.