Trump's pen erases trade agreement

Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Chris Woodward (

signing exec orders 1As expected, there's mixed reaction to President Trump's executive order on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Delivering on his campaign promise, he moved on Monday to pull the U.S. out of the proposed TPP trade pact.

Americans for Limited Government president Richard Manning, who was part of the Trump transition team, says TPP would harm U.S. sovereignty.

"It's corporate cronyism at its worst," he begins, "and it was one of the key issues in the campaign. Mr. Trump had promised that he was going to be against it – and now President Trump has said that this trade deal is a dead deal."

AP reports that President Trump has signed executive orders today advancing the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines – projects that the Obama administration had blocked over environmental concerns.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Rust Belt Democrats applauded President Trump for the move. Manning believes that shows when someone does the right thing, it brings people together.

"TPP was one of those issues that bound together his coalition," Manning notes, "and by moving forward this rapidly, the president has shown that he intends to keep his promises – and [it shows that] when he said he'd oppose bad trade deals, he meant it."

Meanwhile, Claude Barfield of center-right American Enterprise Institute thinks this was a bad move by Trump.

"I think ultimately the United States will pay a price in terms of lost economic exports and imports that we need ... for people who need clothing and shoes from different places at lower prices," he says. "We'll also lose ... diplomatically and in our security policy in Asia."

And the TPP was more than the trade agreement, Barfield says.

"It represented the symbol of a U.S.-based or U.S.-led forum for economic integration in Asia between the U.S. and east Asia," he explains. "There is an alternative that the Chinese are pushing, and now the Asian nations who were part of the TPP and who actually would have been part of a future TPP are now, more likely than not, turning to the Chinese alternative."

What about Senator Sanders, et al. praising Trump for his action on TPP?

"This is the kind of nonsense that, in terms of the TPP and other free-trade agreements, Sanders and the Democratic left have been pushing for years," answers Barfield. "The irony is that a Republican president who, unlike other Republican presidents, doesn't really support free-market principles and free trade, is aligned with them."

Barfield says some Republicans probably will support Trump in this, but the majority of Republicans voted to give former President Obama, a Democrat, authority to negotiate this and to complete negotiations.

Still, groups such as the Alliance for American Manufacturing say if Monday is any indication of the Trump administration's focus on manufacturing, it is an encouraging start.

"Withdrawing from the TPP is a first step in a long road toward reforming trade policy," says AAM president Scott Paul. "We look forward to working with the administration on finding solutions to create trade deals that keep jobs here in America."

Freezing new regulations

President Trump also made headlines late Friday for a presidential memorandum freezing new regulations issued by the Obama administration. But Ryan Young of the Competitive Enterprise Institute tells OneNewsNow that the new administration is doing exactly what others have done in the past – and for a long time.

Young says the Trump administration wants to check and review what the previous White House has been doing, especially when there is a change of party, as is the case here.

"So I can see why President Trump is doing what he's doing," says Young. "Basically ... he's putting a 60-day delay on when the later Obama administration regulations come into effect – and those affect everything from incandescent light bulbs to ceiling fans, as a lot of them are energy- and environment-related."

Is the Competitive Enterprise Institute in favor of Trump looking at existing regulations and doing something about those rules?

"The existing code of federal regulations is 178,000 pages long and costs about $1.9 trillion per year," Young replies. "Some of those regulations are worth the cost and some are not, so I think somebody should take a look, not just at the new regulations that are coming out of the pipeline right now but at those old regulations."

Club for Growth is applauding Trump for sticking with his promise to cut 75 percent of regulations. Doug Sachtleben, CG's communications director, says the president has been saying that regulatory reform is one of the key things he wants to do for American businesses.

"And we couldn't be happier to see that," the Club's spokesman says. "The regulatory burden has been so upped under the Obama administration, has been so markedly strong against American businesses that it's great to see an administration that's committed to rolling back regulations."

Left-of-center individuals, think tanks, and special-interest groups maintain that regulations are needed to protect quality of life, not just for people but wildlife.

"State and local governments already do a very good job in regulating most of the industries that they deal with," responds Sachtleben. "The closer regulation is, the closer the governing bodies are that regulate to people, the more accountable they are rather than getting Washington and its agendas involved."


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