US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order formally withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, following through on a promise from his presidential campaign.
The TPP accord was negotiated by former President Barack Obama’s administration but never approved by US Congress.
Signed by 12 countries in 2015, the TPP trade agreement had yet to go into effect and the US’ withdrawal is likely to sound its death knell.
It had been the main economic pillar of the Obama administration’s “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific region to counter China.
Its signatories are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Brunei. They together represent 40 percent of the world economy.
Trump has raised concern in Japan and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region with his opposition to the TPP and his campaign demands for US allies to pay more for their security.
In the same ceremony, Trump signed an order imposing a federal hiring freeze, with the exception of the military.
Additionally, Trump signed a directive banning US NGOs that perform abortions abroad from receiving federal funding.