World leaders were ‘disappointed’ and bemused Tuesday after President-elect Donald Trump announced he plans to scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal on his first day in the White House.
Trump made his announcement in a short video on his future administration’s plans Monday night in which he listed “executive actions” he plans to implement on the first day of his presidency meant to “restore our laws and bring back our jobs.”
He also said he would roll back energy regulations, take steps to guard against cyber attacks, investigate visa program abuses and implement rules against members of his administration leaving to become lobbyists.
Trump railed during the election campaign against the vast TPP, which was signed by a dozen countries accounting for 40 percent of the world’s economy, but which has not yet been ratified.
It aims to deepen economic ties between the countries, cut tariffs and promote trade to create growth.
Critics of the deal say that it was negotiated in secret and is aimed only at curbing China, which is not part of the pact.
Here’s what some world leaders said after Trump’s announcement:
“TPP is meaningless without the United States,” Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters while on an official visit to Argentina Tuesday.
Abe, who last week became the first foreign leader to meet the president-elect since his election, told reporters that renegotiating the agreement would “disturb the fundamental balance of benefits.”
As Japan’s most powerful leader in a decade, Abe invested a great deal of political capital to overcome strong domestic opposition to the TPP, especially from farmers and the medical lobby.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that while Trump and other members of his administration would have to decide for themselves, the other 11 members of the TPP were unanimous in wanting to ratify it and see it come into force.
From “Australia’s point of view, getting access, greater access for Australian exports, whether it is goods or services to those big markets is manifestly in our interest,” Turnbull said.
“It is manifestly delivering more jobs, better jobs and stronger economic growth in Australia.”
Australia’s Trade Minister Steve Ciobo said the U.S. needed to take some time to really consider the pros and cons of the TPP deal.
“We still hold very firmly the view that the TPP is a great deal not only for Australia, but for all countries that have signed up to the agreement,” Ciobo told reporters in Canberra Tuesday. “It’s an agreement that will help to drive regional economic integration. It’s a deal that provides good market access for Australian exporters and so for that reason, Australia’s view is that we will press ahead with our domestic processes.”
“The United States isn’t an island. It can’t just sit there and say it’s not going to trade with the rest of the world,” New Zealand Prime Minister John Key told reporters Tuesday. “At some point they’re going to have to give some consideration to that. But naturally, we’re a bit disappointed.”
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak said he looks forward to working with President-elect Trump on economic and security issues, but that policy decisions are up to him.
“It is President-elect Donald Trump’s right as the democratically-elected next leader of the United States to make the policy decisions he thinks right,” said Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak. “I am a strong supporter of developing trade and open regionalism in Asia Pacific. It is key to benefiting our peoples.”
China said it hopes to conclude an alternative Asia-wide trade pact as soon as possible. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said Asian leaders are moving forward with talks for the 10-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. It includes many Asian-Pacific countries including China, India, Indonesia and South Korea, which are not part of the TPP. The deal has been backed by China and is seen as a way for Beijing to expand its influence in the region amid the likely collapse of U.S.-backed TPP.
It was issued just after leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group ended their annual summit Sunday with a unified call to fight the backlash against free trade highlighted by Trump’s victory and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
TPP, which President Barack Obama has supported, involves 12 countries: the U.S., Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru.
Under terms of the TPP agreement signed in February in New Zealand, the deal can be only implemented in its current form if it is ratified by at least six countries that account for 85 percent of the combined gross domestic production of the 12 TPP nations.
Since the U.S. accounts for 60 percent of the combined GDP of the group, and Japan less than 20 percent, those conditions cannot be met without U.S. participation.