World Not Waiting for America: Pacific Nations Continue Trade Deal

Prime Ministers Shinzō Abe of Japan and Justin Trudeau of Canada speak in Washington DC, March 31, 2016
Prime Ministers Shinzō Abe of Japan and Justin Trudeau of Canada speak in Washington DC, March 31, 2016 (Flickr/Justin Trudeau)

In another sign that the world isn’t waiting for the United States, eleven countries in Asia and Latin America have announced their intention to keep the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) alive.

One of Donald Trump’s first acts as president was to withdraw from the trade pact.

Japan and Mexico stepped into America’s place to salvage it.

Both have also intensified their trade negotiations with the EU, which itself is rushing to defend globalization from a suddenly protectionist America. Read more

Trump Blunders by Withdrawing from Trans Pacific Partnership

Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in front of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, September 9, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in front of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, September 9, 2015 (Joshua M. Hoover)

Donald Trump made good on his campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Monday.

It was one of his first acts as president — and a terrible mistake.

Not only is Trump robbing American companies of business opportunities in the Far East; he disappoints American allies in the region and cedes the initiative to China. Read more

In Era of Trump, Australia Looks to China for Leadership on Trade

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia says goodbye to President Barack Obama of the United States after a lunch at the White House in Washington DC, January 19
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia says goodbye to President Barack Obama of the United States after a lunch at the White House in Washington DC, January 19 (White House/Pete Souza)

Australia isn’t waiting for Donald Trump to assume office in January before recalibrating its foreign relations.

The island nation — America’s most reliable ally in the Pacific — has thrown its support behind Chinese trade initiatives now that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) appears dead.

Steven Ciobo, Australia’s trade minister, told the Financial Times he would work to conclude new trade pacts with other countries in the region, including China’s proposed Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific. Read more

American Leadership in Pacific at Stake If Trump Cancels Trade Pact

Presidents Barack Obama of the United States and Park Geun-hye of South Korea walk in the garden of the Blue House in Seoul, April 25, 2014
Presidents Barack Obama of the United States and Park Geun-hye of South Korea walk in the garden of the Blue House in Seoul, April 25, 2014 (White House/Pete Souza)

One of the first victims of Donald Trump’s election victory in the United States could be the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a comprehensive trade agreement that the outgoing president, Barack Obama, had hoped to enact in the waning days of his administration.

Many Republicans in the Senate, and quite a few Democrats, support free trade in principle and understand the strategic value of the pact.

But they may balk at ratifying the treaty now that Trump, who campaigned explicitly on an anti-trade platform, is two months away from the presidency. Read more

Democrats Better Know What They’re Doing on TPP

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama of the United States attend a summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, November 20, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama of the United States attend a summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, November 20, 2012 (State Department/William Ng)

Democrats are gambling if they’re proposing to get the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement through the Senate after the election in November.

Hillary Clinton, the party’s presidential nominee, has raised doubts about the treaty, saying it doesn’t do enough to create jobs and raise wages.

Her vice presidential candidate, Tim Kaine, also says he can’t support the treaty in its current form, despite being one of just thirteen Democratic senators who voted last year to give President Barack Obama so-called fast-track authority to negotiate the pact.

Their newfound skepticism of the agreement, which proposes to liberalize 40 percent of the world’s trade, is a gesture to supporters of Bernie Sanders, a self-declared socialist from Vermont who challenged Clinton during the Democratic primaries.

Although polls show a majority of Democratic Party voters support free trade, left-wing activists have made common cause with trade unions to resist TPP.

Clinton and Kaine could hardly change their minds again after the election. Their hope is getting the treaty ratified before the next president is sworn in in January. Read more

Republicans Must Not Hold Trade Pact Hostage

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell speaks with President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington DC, December 3, 2014
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell speaks with President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington DC, December 3, 2014 (White House/Pete Souza)

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the United States Senate, argued on Thursday that a trade pact with eleven other Pacific nations should not be send to Congress for approval until after Barack Obama’s successor is elected next year.

“I think the president would be making a big mistake to try to have that voted on during the election,” he told The Washington Post. “There’s significant pushback all over the place.”

Even McConnell, a free trader who previously expressed support for the treaty, said he now has “serious problems” with the Trans Pacific Partnership Obama negotiated.

It’s hard to take him seriously. Read more

Clinton’s Trade Turnabout Could Prove Political Mistake

Former American secretary of state Hillary Clinton speaks in Mount Vernon, Iowa, October 7
Former American secretary of state Hillary Clinton speaks in Mount Vernon, Iowa, October 7 (Hillary for America/Barbara Kinney)

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership that her own party leader, Barack Obama, heralds as a victory for American leadership and American jobs reveals just how far to the left she is comfortable moving as a presidential candidate.

It could turn out to be a costly mistake.

Clinton played an integral part in advancing the free-trade pact with other Pacific nations as Obama’s top diplomat from 2009 to 2013. But as the frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Clinton now opposes a deal that would lower tariffs and reduce other trade barriers to the projected benefit of $220 billion in global economic output over ten years. Read more