President Donald Trump’s transition team has made numerous changes to the official White House website since he was officially sworn in on Friday. The removal of references to climate change and civil rights attracted a lot of attention and criticism.
However, another issue that was a hot button during the campaign has also been addressed in the updated White House website but is not attracting nearly as much attention. Throughout the Democratic primary and the general election, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal became a sticking point for Hillary Clinton and her campaign rivals.
— ABC News (@abcnews) January 21, 2017
Both Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and Republican candidate Donald Trump repeatedly targeted Clinton for her support of the the TPP and NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement that was signed by her husband, then-President Bill Clinton, in 1993. The criticism gained enough traction to compel Clinton to retract her support of TPP while defending her support of NAFTA.
Now the Trump administrations appears to be following through on his campaign promise to withdraw from the TPP.
On a new page titled “Trade Deals Working For All Americans” on the White House website, the Trump administration outlines its vision for completely reshaping U.S. trade policy.
“For too long, Americans have been forced to accept trade deals that put the interests of insiders and the Washington elite over the hard-working men and women of this country,” the page begins.
“As a result, blue-collar towns and cities have watched their factories close and good-paying jobs move overseas, while Americans face a mounting trade deficit and a devastated manufacturing base.”
The page then throws in a quick boast about Trump’s “lifetime of negotiating experience” before promising “tough and fair” international trade agreements that will “grow our economy, return millions of jobs to America’s shores, and revitalize our nation’s suffering communities.”
The focus then turns specifically to free trade agreements.
“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. President Trump is committed to renegotiating NAFTA. If our partners refuse a renegotiation that gives American workers a fair deal, then the President will give notice of the United States’ intent to withdraw from NAFTA.”
— Julián de Cárdenas G (@JulianJCardenas) January 21, 2017
At times, the White House post reads like it is torn out of the pages of a Bernie Sanders’ stump speech.
“For too long, trade deals have been negotiated by, and for, members of the Washington establishment,” a particularly Sanders-esque passage reads before ending on a more Trump-like nationalist note.
“President Trump will ensure that on his watch, trade policies will be implemented by and for the people, and will put America first.”
In addition to suggesting forthcoming revisions to our current trade policies and agreements, the new White House “Trade Deals Working For All Americans” page also says that the Trump administration will crack down on “nations that violate trade agreements and harm American workers in the process.”
The TPP has come under harsh criticism from labor activists and environmentalists who say that it undermines workers’ rights and environmental laws. Many argued that it also treated developing nations unfavorably compared to their more economically advanced counterparts.
“[C]ritics argue that less developed countries, such as the three commodity-dependent Latin American members, are at an obvious disadvantage when competing against developed countries that export more costly value-added goods,” a Telesur article in response to the White House announcement reads. “Environmentalists have also blasted the agreement for allowing member-governments to be sued by corporations claiming profit-loss due to environmental and labor regulations.”
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla]