United States President-elect Donald Trump said on Monday (Nov 21) he would move to withdraw the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal on his first day in office.
Mr Trump, 70, said this in a brief video message released on Monday evening Washington, DC time, in which he provided an update on the White House transition and his policy plans for the first 100 days.
He said the "list of executive actions on day one’’ would include "a notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership", which he called "a potential disaster for our country". "Instead, we will negotiate fair bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back on to America’s shores."
The video message came just after the conclusion of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit, at which leaders of the TPP member countries pledged to press on with the landmark trade deal.
The TPP is a free trade pact signed by 12 countries – including Singapore – that together account for 40 per cent of world trade. The deal can go into force only if it is approved by six countries that account for at least 85 per cent of the group’s economic output – which means ratification by both the US and Japan is essential, although that now looks unlikely given Mr Trump's opposition to it.
In the video, Mr Trump said the transition team was "working smoothly and efficiently’’. "My agenda will be based on a simple core principle – putting America first... creating wealth and jobs for American workers," he added.
Turning to energy, he said: "I will cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy including shale energy and clean coal creating many millions of high paying jobs.’’
He pledged to slash regulation, saying for every one new regulation two old regulations must be eliminated.
"On national security I will ask the Department of Defence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to develop a comprehensive plan to protect America’s vital infrastructure from cyber attacks and all other form of attacks’’.
"On immigration, I will direct the Department of Labour to investigate all abuses of visa programmes that undercut the American worker.’’
He added that as part of the effort to "drain the swamp’’ – a popular campaign slogan pledging to rid Washington, DC of vested interests – "we will impose a five-year ban on executive officials becoming lobbyists after they leave the admin, and a lifetime ban on exec officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.’’
Mr Trump did not mention the wall he has said he wants to get built on the border with Mexico. He also did not mention Obamacare, the health insurance scheme he has said he wants to scrap. Both were among his campaign promises, but since winning the election he has said the wall may be a fence in some places, and some provisions in Obamacare may be retained.
He ended with a pledge to "rebuild our middle class.. (and).. work together to make America great again for everyone, and I mean everyone".
Separately, Mr Brian Lanza, a spokesman for his transition team, said in a statement: ''President-elect Trump has continued to denounce racism of any kind and he was elected because he will be a leader for every American. To think otherwise is a complete misrepresentation of the movement that united Americans from all backgrounds.’’
The statement came in the wake of a wave of racist incidents across the US after the November election, and a celebration in Washington, DC on Sunday by the white nationalist ''alt right'' movement which ended the evening by some giving Nazi-style salutes and shouting "Hail Trump".