Promise kept? During the campaign, Donald Trump pledged to throw out the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. Today, CNN reports, he’ll make good on that promise. In his first executive action on the first full business day of his presidency, Trump will order his negotiators to pull out of the talks:
President Donald Trump on Monday will unravel the behemoth trade deal he inherited from his predecessor, as two sources familiar with the matter told CNN he plans to sign an executive order to withdraw from the negotiating process of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
That executive order will send signals to Democrats and leaders in foreign capitals around the world that Trump’s rhetoric on trade during the campaign is turning into action. Trump vowed during the campaign to withdraw the US from the Pacific trade deal, commonly known as TPP, which he argued was harmful to American workers and manufacturing.
The executive order is expected to be the first Trump will issue Monday, a senior White House official said, and will amount to the administration’s first major action on foreign policy.
Does Trump plan to reject free trade in the Pacific entirely? Probably not, but he wants a fresh start on negotiations, and wants to set himself up with the best possible leverage. That means putting other nations on notice that he’s serious about renegotiating, and he’s going to expect some serious concessions before signing on the dotted line.
Trump has less room on NAFTA, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to give it his best shot. Another EO today will be to instruct his trade team to begin renegotiations with Mexico and Canada:
The president is also expected to sign an executive order on his plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). “We will be starting negotiations having to do with NAFTA,” Trump said Sunday at a swearing-in ceremony for his top White House advisers.
“We are going to start renegotiating on NAFTA, on immigration and on security at the border.”
Trump and his team are looking for sweeping changes to the deal with Mexico and Canada.
Trump has made his displeasure with Mexico rather well-known. What’s not quite so clear is whether Canada will need to make any concessions in reopening the NAFTA treaty. Trump could play Canada against Mexico to address most of the public complaints he’s had about the two-decades-old trade agreement, assuming the government of Justin Trudeau is willing to play along.
For what it’s worth, and because the argument will inevitably come up, these EOs are organizationally mundane. No one disputes that the president has the authority to pursue his own foreign policy goals, and all these do is direct the agencies responsible to do just that. These EOs do not attempt to impose regulation without Congressional authorization or proper agency process. In fact, one can argue that these decisions don’t even really require EOs, but Trump clearly wants to make a point about fulfilling his campaign pledges in as conspicuous a manner as possible.
Trump has a busy day today, so the executive order will likely go out in mid-morning. ABC News has the schedule for what Trump considers the first true full day of his presidency:
- 9 a.m.: Breakfast and listening session with key business leaders
- 10:30 a.m.: Signs executive orders
- 11 a.m.: President’s Daily Briefing
- 12 p.m.: Lunch with the vice president
- 3 p.m.: Listening session with union leaders and workers
- 5 p.m.: Bicameral Leadership Reception
- 6 p.m.: Meets with House Speaker Paul Ryan
That’s a rather ambitious and surprisingly bipartisan first full business day on the job. How much time will that leave for Trump to get through his pledged first-day objectives? This looks like a lot to squeeze into 30 minutes, but it’s doable, and they’re already committed to Item #1:
- Withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership
- Cancel “job killing” restrictions on American energy.
- Institute a new rule that for every one new regulation put in place, two old ones should be eliminated
- Ask the Department of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to develop a plan to protect infrastructure from cyberattacks
- Direct the Department of Labor to investigate all abuses of visa programs
- Impose a five-year ban on executive officials becoming lobbyists after leaving the administration
Keep your scorecards handy.