With Trump in White House, US Republican heads confirm TPP dead
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Leaders of the United States’ Republican party that opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have proclaimed the free-trade agreement dead after its candidate Donald Trump won the country’s presidential election this week.
According to New York Times (NYT) today, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell emphatically said “No” to reporters on Wednesday when asked if the TPP would be considered when the outgoing Congress convenes next week.
“I think the president-elect made it pretty clear he was not in favour of the current agreement,” McConnell was quoted saying in the NYT.
The Kentucky senator said Trump now has the authority “to negotiate better deals” as indicated by the billionaire during his campaign.
Despite that, he conceded that such a move is unlikely considering the difficulty of renegotiating with dozen countries the pact that has been took at least seven years to finalise.
Even the TPP’s strongest advocate in the party, Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, concurred with McConnell, NYT reported.
“This important agreement is not ready to be considered during the lame duck and will remain on hold until President Trump decides the path forward,” said Brady, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Yesterday, Malay Mail Online reported regional analysts saying that the US’s plans for a multi-nation free-trade deal through the TPP agreement involving Malaysia is doomed after Trump won the presidency.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed told reporters in Parliament this week that the TPP would be jeopardised without the US which has been the key player behind the negotiations.
But last Thursday, Mustapa also indicated that there is a possibility that the US Congress will approve the deal by the end of this month or in early December.
Trump, whose candidacy proved divisive even within his own Republican party, previously called the TPP the “biggest betrayal” of US workers, claiming that the free-trade deal would result in job losses at home.
The TPP agreement was signed on February 4 after negotiations concluded last October 5 between 12 nations, namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Malaysia has committed to ratify the TPP by 2018, and both the lower and upper house of its Parliament had this January given its nod for the TPP.
The TPP, among other things, aims at encouraging trade by removing or lowering barriers such as trade tariffs.