The American President-Elect Donald Trump, in a televised national address, has dealt a death blow to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He said that he was going to issue a note of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, calling it “a potential disaster for our country”. Instead he said he would “negotiate fair bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back”.
Trump’s announcement has dealt a certain death blow to the hopes of several APEC leaders who had expressed hopes that Trump would revisit his tough rhetoric against the trade pace in the lead up to the American elections.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had earlier said that his government will ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) early next year to maintain momentum on the pact and demonstrate that TPP benefits all 12 member countries – including the United States of America (US).
PM Lee is not alone with this view. Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo had earlier expressed similar views. “We determined that our countries will press ahead with this agreement independently of what Washington decides,” he said.
Besides Singapore and Mexico, Japan, Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand, have indicated that they will continue with the TPP with or without the US. The trade pact can technically come into force if at least six countries, which between them represent at least 85 percent of the total GDP of the original 12, have ratified it within two years.
With Trump’s promise to withdraw the US from the trade agreement on his first day of office, the requirement for ’85 percent of total GDP of the original 12′ is unlikely to be fulfilled – effectively dashing all hopes that some of the member countries can maintain momentum on TPP to revive it.
At the recently concluded APEC Summit, PM Lee was hopeful that the incoming Trump administration will not totally write-off the trade pact, but give it due consideration.
“We had come so far, and we hoped we only had a little way more to go. But we find ourselves facing a twist in the road. I share President Obama’s hope that after the new administration has settled in, deliberated on the matter, and taken advice, it will in due course take a considered decision.” – Lee Hsien Loong