Reflections

Free Trade's Course Change

Jan 24, 2017 | 01:32 GMT
Free Trade's Course Change
Donald Trump's first day of business in the Oval Office included signing an executive order to end the United States' participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
(RON SACHS - POOL/Getty Images)

On his first business day in office, U.S. President Donald Trump used his pen to drive the final nail into the coffin of his predecessor's ambitions to build the mega-regional Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the country from the TPP on Monday, effectively killing the deal -- and fulfilling a campaign pledge. Several other TPP signees are seeking to salvage the now 11-member trade bloc, either in a weaker form or on a smaller scale. But without the backbone formed by the world's largest economy, its resurrection is unlikely unless another significant global economy steps in. The TPP is one of many multilateral or mega-regional trade agreements that have faced stiff pressure, particularly in the developed world, where skeptics question the benefits of multiparty free trade agreements. Just because they have fallen into disfavor does not necessarily mean the end of global free trade deals. Indeed, while...

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