In Unpacked, Brookings experts provide analysis of Trump administration policies and news.
THE ISSUE: Shortly after his inauguration, President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This reflects a major pivot for the U.S. on trade policy, and raises many concerns that the new administration will have to address as it moves forward with fresh negotiations.
What we’ve done with the decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, [is create] an incentive for our trading partners to diversify, to look for their own way, to have conversations and negotiations in which we will not be participants.
THE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- On his first day in office, President Trump signed an executive order removing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and declared an end to the era of multinational trade agreements.
- The TPP is the 12-nation trade deal that included the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Peru, Chile, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei.
- The TPP was negotiated under former President Barack Obama, but never ratified by Congress.
- Economic analysis of the effects of the TPP show it would have contributed positively to U.S. economic growth, and it could have also enhanced American influence in Asia and in the world by reassuring allies and rivals that the United States is a multi-dimensional resident power.
- Removing the U.S. from the TPP increases uncertainty among U.S. allies about the reliability of the U.S. across a range of foreign and economic matters, and marks the first time the U.S. has withdrawn from an agreement it championed.
- President Trump has pivoted U.S. trade policy by stating he will only negotiate trade deals with individual allies, but it has yet to be determined how the administration will operationalize the strategy.
- In the past, the U.S. had tried bilateral agreements, but they were slow moving and some of the negotiations had to be abandoned which is a reason why there was a shift to multinational agreements.
- There are mega trade deals being negotiated that the U.S. will now not be a part of, including the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement and the 16-nation trade agreement between East Asian countries. These agreements will provide preferences to the participating countries and the U.S. will not receive them.
If Trump and his group hoped that this kind of tough talk would make the North Koreans nervous, and make them come back with their tail between their legs — no, that’s just not the way they work. This is a stupid move. By pushing North Korea away, in such an in-your-face way, he’s pushing them to work separately with the South Koreans and the Chinese.