WASHINGTON—U.S. president-elect Donald Trump plans to issue “a notification of intent to withdraw” from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
Trump shared the plan among other details in his list of priorities for his first days in office in a two-and-a-half minute video message released Monday evening.
Calling the TPP — which would create free trade among 12 nations encompassing nearly 40 per cent of the world’s GDP, including Canada, Australia, Mexico, Japan and the United States — “a potential disaster for our country,” Trump elaborated, “We will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back on to American shores.”
“My agenda will be based on a simple core principle, putting America first,” he said. “I want the next generation of production and innovation to happen right here, on our great homeland America, creating wealth and jobs for American workers.”
Trump said he has asked his transition team to come up with a list of executive actions that the administration can take “on Day 1 to restore our laws and bring back our jobs.”
He laid out several of these actions, but did not provide any details about how they would work.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — in Lima, Peru, along with leaders from Asian and Pacific nations attending the annual APEC summit — said trade deals such as the TPP and the North American Free Trade Agreement are necessary more than ever to better move goods, people and services across borders.
“This is not based on ideology or opinion, this is based on the fact that Canada has benefited extraordinarily over the almost 150 years of our existence — and well before that — from strong trading relationships with the Americans and indeed with the world,” Trudeau said Sunday.
Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama urged TPP members not to give up on the deal, despite Trump’s persistent anti-trade rhetoric.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that the TPP deal would be “meaningless” without the United States.
He also said the pact couldn’t be renegotiated.
“This would disturb the fundamental balance of benefits.”
As Japan’s most powerful leader in a decade, Abe had invested political capital in overcoming strong domestic opposition to the TPP.
Abe and the other 20 APEC leaders closed the summit with a unified call to resist the protectionist sentiment highlighted by Trump’s victory and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
Last week, Abe became the first world leader to meet with Trump since his election. Seeking reassurances over the future of U.S.-Japan security and trade relations, Abe described the meeting as “really, really cordial,” but he offered few details of their discussion.
On Monday, Trump said he also plans to “cancel” what he called “job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy.”
He wants the labour department to investigate visa violations that “undercut the American worker.”
Using his now ubiquitous tagline about draining the swamp, Trump repeated his promise to ban executive staff from becoming lobbyists for five years after they leave the administration. The ban also includes a lifetime prohibition on executive officials lobbying on behalf of foreign governments.
The president-elect promised new regulatory rules that would require two old regulations to be dismantled any time a new regulation is created. On national security and defence, he plans to ask the Department of Defense to come up with what he called “a comprehensive plan” to protect American infrastructure from “cyberattacks and all other forms of attack.”
He also packed another day full of meetings with potential administration picks and those offering counsel, but a top adviser said there is no rush to fill the top ranks of his White House and Cabinet.
“His appointments will come out when he’s ready and not a moment sooner because these are big decisions and they shouldn’t be rushed,” Kellyanne Conway, who served as Trump’s campaign manager, said Monday in New York. She said the Trump team already is “weeks and weeks and weeks ahead” of previous presidential transitions.
On Trump’s schedule at his namesake Manhattan tower Monday were onetime primary rival Rick Perry, the former Texas governor; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump loyalist; Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who’s been mentioned as a potential secretary of the Department of the Interior; former U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao; and former Sen. Scott Brown, a possible candidate for Veterans Affairs. Also meeting with Trump was Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who broke with much of her party’s establishment to back Sen. Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton during the Democratic nomination race.
The transition team also announced more so-called landing teams that will begin meeting with top officials at federal agencies to begin the process of handing over the keys to a Trump administration. There are some 4,000 executive branch jobs that the new administration will be filling with political appointees.
Among those named to the landing teams were Charter Holdings Chief Executive Officer Ray Washburne, a Republican financier, to liaise with the Department of Commerce. Washburne also may be under consideration for interior secretary, CNBC reported, citing sources it didn’t identify.
Two more names have been floated for the Homeland Security Department. The Washington Post reported that Trump is considering retired Marine Corps General John F. Kelly, who was head of the U.S. Southern Command, and Francis Townsend, who was President George W. Bush’s adviser on homeland security and counterterrorism.
Of the three candidates Trump interviewed over the weekend for treasury secretary, according to a person familiar with the hiring process, Steven Mnuchin, a member of the transition team’s executive committee, is thought to be the front-runner.
Along with potential administration officials, Trump met Monday with anchors and executives from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, and CNN for an off-the-record discussion. During his campaign, Trump had lashed out at all of the networks at some point for how they covered his run.