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Trump says getting out of TPP is priority No.1, but what about NAFTA?

U.S. president-elect Donald Trump released a video on Monday laying out actions he will take on his first day in office on Jan. 20, including withdrawing the United States from a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Trump, who has not held a news conference since his election, issued a video on Monday evening outlining some of his plans for his first day in office, including formally declaring his intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade deal, which he called “a potential disaster for our country.”

The 12-nation TPP is Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature trade initiative and was signed by the United States earlier this year but has not been ratified by the U.S. Senate.

The president-elect said he would replace the accord with bilaterally negotiated trade deals that would “bring jobs and industry back onto American shores.”

“My agenda will be based on a simple core principle: putting America first. Whether it’s producing steel, building cars or curing disease, I want the next generation of production and innovation to happen right here on our great homeland, America, creating wealth and jobs for American workers,” he said.

No mention of NAFTA

The president-elect made political hay out of criticizing the North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico on the campaign trail, but he made no mention of the pact in his video on Tuesday.

Rather than tear it up, Trump is now expected to renegotiate the deal and take aim via punitive tariffs at American firms that have offshored operations to Mexico. Trump has railed against America’s trade deficit with Mexico, but the numbers show the $60 billion shortfall is less than a fifth of the deficit America has with China, and about the same as the deficit with Germany and Japan.

“Overall trade in goods and services with NAFTA partners generates a deficit of less than 0.3 per cent of U.S. GDP,” Bank of Montreal said in a recent analysis on the topic. “In what way, shape or form does that pose an existential threat to the U.S. economy?”

TPP a no-go without U.S.: Japan PM

Japan’s prime minister said Monday the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal would be “meaningless” without U.S. participation.

Shinzo Abe also said the pact couldn’t be renegotiated: “This would disturb the fundamental balance of benefits.”

As Japan’s most powerful leader in a decade, Abe had invested political capital in overcoming strong domestic opposition to the TPP.

Trump said he would cancel some restrictions on producing energy in the United States on his first day in office, particularly shale oil and “clean coal,” which he said would create “many millions of high-paying jobs.”

He promised to direct the Labor Department to investigate abuses of visa programs for immigrant workers. The main U.S. visa program for technology workers could face tough scrutiny under Trump and his proposed attorney general, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, a longtime critic of the program.

Trump had made eliminating regulations and withdrawing from the TPP central to his campaign, but he sent mixed signals during the campaign about his views on visa programs including the main H-1B visa for high-tech industry workers.

No mention of border wall, Obamacare 

The video — which made no mention of key pledges to build a border wall with Mexico or repeal the Affordable Care Act — continues the president-elect’s practice of trying to go over the heads of the media and take his case directly to the American public.

Since election day, he has twice ditched the group of reporters designated to follow his movements and has so far eschewed the traditional news conference held by the president-elect in the days after winning.

In the 2 ½-minute clip, he said was appointing “patriots” to his administration and reiterated a number of his campaign promises.

“These are just a few of the steps we will take to reform Washington and rebuild our middle class,” Trump said. “I will provide more updates in the coming days as we work together to make America great again for everyone, and I mean everyone.”

Article source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/trump-first-100-days-tpp-1.3861339?cmp=rss