Asian Trade Deal Killed

Asian Trade Deal Killed

To no one’s surprise, White House officials conceded Friday that the president’s hard-fought-for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal would not pass Congress in light of the election of Donald Trump, who campaigned on anti-global trade policies.

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Desmond O’Rourke, publisher of the World Apple Report, noted that several weeks ago Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he would not allow debate on the TPP to be raised in the lame duck session. The White House announcement confirms that.

Even if Trump hadn’t been elected, his opponent, Hillary Clinton, argued against the TPP in its current form, although she supported it while secretary of state for the Obama administration. During the Democratic primary she was pushed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to give up her support.

The TPP became a campaign symbol for lost manufacturing jobs, especially in the rust belt states. Trump argued it would send jobs from the U.S. to other countries and damage the American economy. He has made similar arguments about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The TPP would have included the U.S. and 11 countries in Asia, South America, and the south Pacific, and was designed in large part to curb the growing economic influence of China. It originally enjoyed widespread bipartisan support, but that has withered during the presidential campaign.

O’Rourke, a contributor to American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazines and a member of the magazines’ Editorial Advisory Board, says it is a loss for U.S. growers, as ratification of the TPP would have been helpful to U.S. fruit exporters in four main ways:

  1. “Many of our competitors have signed bilateral trade agreements with Asian partners that are lowering tariff barriers for them and giving them an advantage over U.S. suppliers. TPP would have reduced those disadvantages.
  1. “TPP aimed to help streamline trade protocols that would have made trade flows smoother and less costly.
  1. “Had TPP gone ahead with the existing partners, there would have been a strong incentive for other countries like India, Indonesia, and Thailand to seek membership, and thus add to the benefits for U.S. exporters.
  1. “(President) Obama, I believe correctly, saw the TPP as a way to give the U.S. leadership in developing the trade agenda for all of Asia. The alternative will be for China to set that agenda. China’s commitment to free and fair trade is very dubious.”

However, O’Rourke added: “One real possibility is that Trump will allow TPP to die but as he realizes the importance of trade – Econ 101 – he will renegotiate a similar deal with a new name and new safeguards for U.S. workers.”

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Rick Murray says:

Pres-Elect Trump and his millions of voters are against UNFAIR global trade that consistently helps a few well lobbied businesses / industries while ignoring the effects on American success as a whole. In most cases when a few gain an advantage, many lose their advantage. I’m not advocating a socialistic utopia with everyone eating off the same plate, however, I AM advocating well designed international trade deals that put America first. If none can be found we will need to re-think our current agricultural system and focus on US consumption. This may mean less crops grown, less illegal workers needed and most importantly less government intrusion into what should be a ‘free market’. Our market is not ‘free’ because others get to fight (unfairly) for American business, South American citrus for example, and it’s Americans that lose every time. Stop trying to feed the world thru conflicting ‘global trade’ deals and focus on this country. We will gain respect around the world for our ability to possibly feed the world and we’ll see how much they are willing to pay for our hard work, sacrifice and expertise. The current consensus around the world is America Sucks. I believe we’ll find when we, Americans, place America First, the world will change their tune to their ultimate benefit.

Tom says:

Well said Mr. Murray.

rjschwartz1967 says:

The few points you’ve laid out all rely on other things occurring and have a distinctively globalist slant. Any deal America makes should benefit all of America, not just a select few groups (who will continue to export even without this agreement, they just won’t reap the huge profits that would have come with the streamlined process you mention.) TPP was never cited as a job creating pact, something which we desperately need in this nation right now.

Eric Fredrickson says:

Good riddance to bad policy. This deal would’ve decimated not only most American industries, but American farms and food processing, but also endangered American food safety, bringing in substandard food and produce. Remember the China dog food poisoning scandal?