Eleven Nations Sign TPP Without the U.S.

Written by SK Ashby

We knew this was coming, but today it became official.

Although it's no longer officially referred to as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), eleven nations including our closest allies and trading partners have signed on to the trade pact that was crafted and negotiated by the United States.

A group of 11 nations — including major United States allies like Japan, Canada and Australia — signed a broad trade deal on Thursday that challenges Mr. Trump’s view of trade as a zero-sum game filled with winners and losers.

Covering 500 million people on either side of the Pacific Ocean, the pact represents a new vision for global trade as the United States threatens to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on even its closest friends and neighbors. [...]

“Only free trade will contribute to inclusive growth of the world economy,” Taro Kono, Japan’s foreign minister, told a group of ministers from Southeast Asian countries in Tokyo on Thursday. “Protectionism isn’t a solution.”

The premise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was to effectively replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with a more inclusive trade pact updated for the 21st century with additional controls for environmental regulation and civil rights. The idea was to craft a new sweeping trade deal with our North American and Asian partners before China fills the void with their own set of rules.

Unfortunately I can't sit here and say Trump is solely responsible for our withdrawal from the trade partnership. He made the call to do so, but he got the idea from critics on the left from Bernie Sanders to Elizabeth Warren and other liberal celebrities. They gestated the fantasy that we're going to resurrect the white rust belt economy of 1970 and weaponized it against Hillary Clinton. Trump then used their weapon from Clinton's right flank to win over union and blue collar households in the Midwest who foolishly bought it.

Some liberal congressmen and interest groups have continued to play along with Trump in recent days after announcing that he would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. They humor him to the detriment of the very people they supposedly represent. Even if Trump grants exemptions for imports from Mexico and Canada, Trump's tariffs will likely cost tens of thousands of jobs across a wide range of industries even before accounting for possible retaliation from our other trading partners.

It is not a stretch to say that most of the people directly influencing our economic policy over the past year know very little about our policies.