Donald Trump policy advisor says Trans-Pacific Partnership 'is dead'

Incoming administration also views China as 'perpetrating an economic war', source claims

Will Worley@willrworley
Friday 13 January 2017 21:34
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Donald Trump has frequently criticised China's trade policies
Donald Trump has frequently criticised China's trade policies

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is “dead”, according to a Donald Trump transition team policy advisor, while reaffirming that the incoming administration views China as “perpetrating an economic war”.

Donald Trump will instead keenly pursue bilateral trade agreements over multilateral ones, the anonymous insider said.

The President-elect has frequently spoken of his disdain for the trade agreement, also known as TPP, calling it a "potential disaster for our country". He previously said he would withdraw from it on “day one” of his presidency.

TPP was the product of seven years of work under President Obama, and is aimed at making trade easier among Pacific Rim countries – except China, which didn’t sign.

However, despite being signed in February, TPP has stalled.

Now, the transition team source has reaffirmed that it will not be revived.

"TPP is dead. I cannot stress that more strongly," the source told Reuters. "TPP, or a multilateral agreement that looks like TPP but is called something else, is emphatically dead."

The Trump administration was not going to pursue multilateral trade deals, the source said, adding: "You will be shocked by the speed at which bilateral agreements begin to materialise."

A slew of bilateral trade deals would be welcomed by the UK, which is soon to be thrust into economic uncertainty after Article 50, officially starting the Brexit process, is triggered.

Britain has expressed strong interest in a bilateral trade deal with the United States once it exits the European Union.

The advisor said Mr Trump would not rule out declaring China a currency manipulator or levying tariffs on Chinese goods as a means of reducing massive US trade deficits with China. He declined to speculate how quickly a currency designation could come, adding that the issue needed further review.

The Trump policy adviser said the new administration is determined to reverse years of Chinese trade practices that have "hollowed out" the US manufacturing base.

"You have to understand the view of this administration that China is essentially perpetrating an economic war, they're already engaged in a trade war against us," the adviser said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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