On the same day that President Donald Trump signed an executive order formally ending the United States’ participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the website of the U.S. Trade Representative was updated to replace the former message which invited readers to explore the TPP with one proclaiming the new administration’s “America First” trade policy.
The statement reads as follows:
The Office of the United States Trade Representative is committed to ensuring that American workers are given a fair shot at competing across the globe.
USTR is working to reshape the landscape of trade policy to work for all Americans.
On a level playing field, Americans can compete fairly and win. This new America First trade policy will make it more desirable for companies to stay here, create jobs here, pay taxes here, and rebuild our economy.
Our workers and the communities that support them will thrive again, as companies compete to set up manufacturing in the U.S., to hire our young people and give them hope and real shot at prosperity again.
The change came as President Trump met at the White House with executives from various U.S. corporations and representatives of organized labour groups to reiterate many of his campaign pledges, including significantly cutting taxes and regulations on businesses while vowing to renegotiate “ridiculous” trade deals and threatening to punish companies that offshore production with a “substantial border tax”.
The moves echo sentiments expressed in Trump’s inaugural speech that implored Americans to “protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs” by following two simple rules: “Buy American and Hire American”.
Following the president’s inauguration, the Trump administration elaborated on its plans for trade on the White House website, stating it will tackle trade deals including NAFTA by pushing for measures that “will be implemented by and for the people and will put America first.”
“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 plan says.
“With tough and fair agreements, international trade can be used to grow our economy, return millions of jobs to America’s shores, and revitalize our nation’s suffering communities.
“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,” the plan continued. “President Trump is committed to renegotiating NAFTA. If our partners refuse a renegotiation, then the president will give notice of the United States’ intent to withdraw from NAFTA.”
The administration added that it would “crack down on those nations that violate trade agreements and harm American workers in the process.”