A day after President-elect Donald Trump announced that he intends to withdraw America from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal once he steps into office, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest admitted that President Barack Obama has essentially given up on the deal.
“I would acknowledge that the prospects of TPP being ratified by this Congress or before President Obama leaves are not very good,” he said Tuesday during his daily news briefing, according to a White House transcript.
When questioned by reporters whether the Obama administration was “going to (at least) try” to keep the deal afloat, Earnest simply spouted off the usual talking points about how not moving forward with the deal would be “a significant missed opportunity for the American people.”
Trump has disagreed with this assessment on the basis that the deal would hurt America’s interests.
“On trade, I am going to issue our notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country,” he said in a video message uploaded to YouTube Monday.
“Instead, we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores,” he added.
If Trump were indeed to pull the United States out of TPP when he becomes president in two months, it could conceivably spell the end of the deal altogether, according to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Speaking with reporters hours before Trump’s announcement Monday, he claimed that the deal would be “meaningless” without America’s participation.
Abe also revealed that he and “other TPP countries had not discussed how to rescue the agreement if Trump carried out his promise to withdraw,” as reported by The Guardian.
Incidentally, neither Obama nor Abe were the only politicians upset by the president-elect’s decision. The Hill reported Wednesday that Sen. John McCain, R.Az., was also disturbed by it.
“The President-elect’s announcement that he intends to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, though anticipated, is still a disappointment to those of us who still believe in free trade and the importance of America’s strategic role in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said in a statement.
McCain was a noted “Never Trumper” during the 2016 presidential election.
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