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Donald Trump says he will withdraw US from TPP

President-elect Donald Trump released a video on Monday in which he described the first executive actions he plans to take.

After several days of meeting with political, military, and business bigwigs, President-elect Donald Trump said on Monday that on his first day in office, he will issue a notice that the US is withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal negotiated by President Barack Obama, calling it "a potential disaster for our country".

He made the announcement in a video message posted to YouTube laying out his top priorities for the beginning of his administration.

"Instead we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals," he said in the brief video message.

The TPP trade deal was signed by 12 countries which together cover 40 percent of the world's economy.

The TPP was agreed in 2015 by countries including Japan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico, but is not yet ratified.

Its aim was to deepen economic ties and boost growth but its opponents said that it was negotiated in secret and it favors big corporations.

Trump campaigned against the TPP and his vow to withdraw from the deal makes good on those campaign promises.

Asia-Pacific leaders meeting in Peru over the weekend said that they will continue to pursue free trade deals despite Trump's opposition.

But on Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the TPP trade deal would be meaningless without the involvement of the US.

The Republican also said that he will cancel Obama administration rules that limit energy production, and will order his Labor Department to investigate abuses of America's visa programs, going after those visas that are used to undercut American workers.

But there was no mention of repealing Obamacare or building a wall on the southern border with Mexico, two actions he said during the campaign he would do on day one.

And he said that he'll order security agencies to come up with a cyber security strategy.

His surprise election win two weeks ago has sparked protests across the US.

Can China overtake the US to lead the world?

If the US under Trump gives up its global leadership and withdraws into isolationism, will the rising superpower China replace it?

In the past week, China has defended the system of global governance that the US has done much to build.

Senior officials have urged Trump not to walk away from a global deal to address climate change, while President Xi Jinping told the Asia-Pacific region not to surrender to protectionist pressures but to recommit itself to globalization and free trade.

"Openness is the lifeline of the regional economy," Xi said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in the Peruvian capital, Lima, on Saturday.

The official Xinhua News Agency gushed that Xi's speech put China and the region in the "vanguard" of a joint effort to revive the global economy.

China's influence will also expand if Trump fulfills his campaign promise to walk away from the TPP.

China, meanwhile, has lost no time in pushing forward its vision for free trade in Asia, through a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a potential deal it has long championed that involves 14 Asian nations, plus Australia and New Zealand.

The RCEP would involve much lower standards for the environment, labor rights and intellectual property protection than the TPP and does not include the US, potentially leaving US businesses at a competitive disadvantage in Asia.

"There's no doubt that there would be a pivot to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership if the TPP doesn't go forward," Japanese Prime Minister Abe said, according to the Kyodo news agency.

Vietnam has indicated that it will not ratify the TPP, and Malaysia has said that it will turn its attention toward the RCEP negotiations. Chile and Peru also have expressed interest in joining RCEP negotiations in light of the TPP’s problems.

But championing a regional trade deal is not quite the same as leading the world, and, on that score at least, China is not yet ready to take up the burden.

"China, to its credit, has always been open that at its current stage of development, it has no capability or ambition to replace the US," said Yanmei Xie, a China policy analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics in Beijing. "It wants the US to gradually relinquish some control and gradually make room for China. But it doesn't want the US to suddenly retreat — it doesn't want to deal with the unpredictability and potential chaos that would go with that."

Last week, China's top envoy on climate change, Xie Zhenhua, said that the US still needed to play a joint leadership role in combating global warming. For one thing, developed countries have proposed about $100 billion in annual support for developing countries by 2020, a commitment that depends on Washington's participation.


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