Trump formally trashes TPP, plans to re-open NAFTA

WASHINGTON—Quickly carrying out two campaign promises which brought him millions of key votes – including votes from unionists – in the industrial states around the Great Lakes, President Donald Trump (R) formally trashed the controversial jobs-destroying Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “free trade” pact with 11 other Pacific Rim nations, and said he plans to reopen the 23-year-old NAFTA pact with Canada and Mexico.

Trump’s formal withdrawal from the TPP talks on Jan. 23 cheered the AFL-CIO, whose member unions stitched together a wide coalition of community, worker, religious, civil rights and civic groups against the pact.

As a result of their pressure, former President Barack Obama announced after the Nov. 8 election that he would not submit the TPP to Congress. But he still left its ultimate fate up to his successor. Trump signed an executive order ending U.S. participation in the discussions.

“We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” Trump said of the withdrawal. He called dumping the TPP a “great thing for the American worker.”

“Last year, a powerful coalition of labor, environmental, consumer, public health and allied groups came together to stop the TPP. Today’s announcement that the U.S. is withdrawing from TPP and seeking a reopening of NAFTA is an important first step toward a trade policy that works for working people,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka responded.

Machinists President Bob Martinez said Trump’s two moves “signal the beginning of the changing of a culture that for years encouraged American companies to ship jobs overseas.”

But Trumka said more is needed. Trump promised to negotiate better more pro-U.S. bilateral trade pacts with the TPP nations. The AFL-CIO and its congressional allies have introduced principles that every future trade pact must cover.

They include enforceable worker rights in trade pacts, protection of Buy American provisions, bans on using trade pacts to undercut new U.S. “green” manufacturing and making currency manipulation a violation of trade law. They also include abolition of a secret pro-corporate trade court – the Investor-State Dispute System – that is in both TPP and NAFTA.

“While these are necessary actions, they aren’t enough,” Trumka said of Trump’s trade pact moves.

“They are just the first in a series of necessary policy changes required to build a fair and just global economy. We will continue our relentless campaign to create new trade and economic rules that end special privileges for foreign investors and Big Pharma, protect our planet’s precious natural resources and ensure fair pay, safe conditions and a voice in the workplace for all workers.”

The anti-TPP and anti-NAFTA orders were two of three actions concerning workers that Trump took on his first full day in the Oval Office. The other was a freeze on federal hiring.

Source: PAI