WASHINGTON—In one of the first acts of his administration, President Trump has signed an executive order canceling the Obama administration's agreement for a 12-nation trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Ending the TPP, one of President Obama's pet projects, was an explicit promise for Trump on the campaign trail, along with renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement signed by President Clinton.
"For too long, Americans have been forced to accept trade deals that put the interests of insiders and the Washington elite over the hardworking men and women of this country," said a statement on trade posted on the White House website.
"With tough and fair agreements, international trade can be used to grow our economy, return millions of jobs to America's shores, and revitalize our nation's suffering communities," the statement said. "This strategy starts by withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and making certain that any new trade deals are in the interests of American workers."
The TPP, the full text of which was released in November 2015, was a subject of intense controversy during the final years of the Obama administration and the 2016 election campaign.
Most business interests supported the agreement as a way to open new markets and make a positive contribution to the balance of trade. Labor unions and some industry groups, however, condemned it as an incentive for U.S. companies to outsource domestic jobs overseas.
USW International President Leo W. Gerard praised Trump's executive order in a press release.
"The president's action today rewards the long and hard-fought efforts of USW members and workers across the country to keep the TPP from coming to a vote," Gerard said in a Jan. 23press release.
"Today's action draws a line in the sand that hopefully is just the start of President Trump's promised pro-worker, pro-income growth agenda that prioritizes revitalizing manufacturing," Gerard said.