11th November 2020
UK government still hasn’t produced a lorry drivers’ guide
The US Administration admitted on November 11 it no longer expected Congressional ratification of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the Obama Presidency. President-elect Trump has already announced abandoning the deal will be among his first acts after his January 20 inauguration.
Without US support, the TPP is dead.
Since summer, spokespeople for the Administration insisted it would use a “lame duck” session of the current Congress between Nov 9 and January 19 to seek ratification. The TPP was agreed by trade negotiators of the twelve intended partners in February 2016, but needs ratification by countries accounting for 85% to become effective. Without the US, the deal cannot go ahead – though the other 11 partners could agree a deal between each other.
A few days earlier, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and leading Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer had said there was no point bringing the TPP to a vote in the lame duck session, despite the strong support of many senators in both parties for freer trade. Republican Kevin Brady chairman of the committee overseeing trade in the House of Representatives, said in a statement that “this important agreement is not ready to be considered during the lame duck and will remain on hold until President Trump decides the path forward.”
On November 11, Matthew McAlvanah, a spokesman for US Trade Representative Mike Froman, said that despite all the work the administration has done with lawmakers on Capitol Hill “ultimately it is a legislative process, and the final step is for Congress to take.”
On October 22, Trump had announced that on his first day in office he would “announce US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership”
The TPP began life in as an agreement between Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore signed in 2005. The US decided in 2008 it wanted to join, but has struggled with domestic opinion ever since. This has not stopped its trade negotiators bullying other partners, or lecturing the rest of the world on the virtues of free trade.
At no point in the ensuing eight years has any US Administration sought to determine the views of its citizens on the deal.