WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — President Donald Trump has moved fast to cement his populist support in the industrialized US Midwest by scrapping the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement, former adviser to the Republican leadership in the US Senate Jim Jatras told Sputnik.
"The fact that Trump did sign the withdrawal, and did it on his first full weekday on the job, shows where his ‘America First’ priorities are," Jatras, who was also a former US diplomat, said on Tuesday.
Trump, who was sworn in as the forty-fifth president of the United States last Friday, followed through on his pre-election pledges to scrap the TPP agreement with 11 other Pacific Rim countries, signing a decree to withdraw from the deal on Monday, his third full day in power.
Jatras noted that Americans who supported Trump’s trade policy had expressed similar concerns to UK voters who chose to pull their country out of the European Union last year, a move also known as Brexit.
However, Jatras cautioned that the impact of shutting down the TPP on the US economy could not yet be clearly assessed.
"It’s too soon to say how President Trump’s withdrawal from TPP will impact America’s overall trade posture," he noted.
However, the US economy would not retreat into isolationism and countries around the world would remain eager to trade with it, Jatras predicted.
"Whatever the other countries involved in the negotiations choose to do about TPP with the United States — and whether China steps into the void — they will still want to work out a trade deal with the United States, a market too big for them to ignore," Jatras said.
Trump had already succeeded in imposing his strategy of direct bilateral talks with potential trade partners in place of the sweeping global and regional accords negotiated by previous US presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Jatras observed.
Trump had made clear he remained committed to implement the detailed economic strategy he spelled during his election campaign, Jatras remarked.
"The TPP order says Trump [remains] determined to keep his promises… No other president, Republican or Democrat, who has been within shouting distance of the Oval Office for decades would have killed US participation in the TPP," he added.
Even US labor leaders who had supported Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election were forced to admit — some of them grudgingly — that Trump had done the right thing in scrapping the TPP, Jatras concluded.