Trump win spells likely demise of TPP

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s widely unexpected election win has left governments across the globe scrambling to prepare for a number of major impending policy shifts from the world’s largest economy. 

Critics of neoliberalism and environmentalists in Aotearoa may take solace in the likely demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) which Trump has railed against in keeping with his promise to ‘tear up’ or renegotiate U.S. trade deals with foreign nations.  

The TPP is a controversial proposed free trade agreement between 12 Asia-pacific nations, including New Zealand and the United States.  Critics argue that the deal relinquishes sovereign rights to multi-national corporations while supporters highlight the economic benefits of expanded free trade.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton also walked back earlier comments describing the TPP as the ‘gold standard’ for U.S. trade deals and explicitly came out against the deal in a rare policy alignment with her republican opponent.

Speaking at a campaign rally in August, Clinton had stated, “I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages – including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election, and I’ll oppose it as President.”

The anti-TPP stance of both candidates, especially eventual election winner Trump has left President Obama alone in supporting the agreement and makes the passage of TPP legislation through an already hostile congress increasingly unlikely.   

Speaking to Paul Henry this morning, John Key acknowledged the demise of the TPP.

 “The chance of it passing in the lame-duck period which is between now and January is…if it’s not zero, it’s very close to zero.  Firstly, Trump has been deeply opposed.  It’s hard to believe that the congress is going to vote for something that he…is so opposed to,” said Key.

TPP critic and Professor of Law Jane Kelsey has welcomed the TPP’s demise, despite the circumstances.

“Clearly the Prime Minister has been talking to people in Washington and has written off the prospects of the TPPA happening in the short term," says Kelsey.

“While opponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement will welcome its likely demise, we would prefer our governments had rejected the deal as bad for their peoples. Instead, it is likely to be sunk by a new US president whose racism, sexism, tax avoidance and defence of fossil fuels are anathema and will be a barrier to achieving progressive alternatives.”

Kelsey has called for the government to withdraw legislation associated with the TPP and which is shortly due for a final reading in parliament.

“Given the Prime Minister’s concession, the government should withdraw the legislation and reverse all the other changes it has been making to implement a deal that is unlikely come into force,” says Kelsey, “It is time we took on board the message from the US and UK, and had a real debate about the kinds of international agreements that are genuinely good for our future.”

President Obama is yet to comment on the prospects for the TPP after Trump’s election win.