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Trump signs order withdrawing US from 12-nation Trans-Pacific trade deal

President Donald Trump on Monday moved to pull the United States out of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.
India TV News Desk Washington January 23, 2017 23:37 IST
India TV News Desk

Fulfilling one of his campaign promises, President Donald Trump on Monday moved to pull the United States out of the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. 

Besides trade deal, he also signed orders on freezing the hiring of federal workers and hitting foreign NGOs that help with abortion. 

As he began his first full week in office, he signed three orders "We've been talking about this for a long time," Trump said as he signed the executive order to withdraw from the TPP in the Oval Office. 

"Great thing for the American worker what we just did," he said. 

The president also signed memorandums freezing most federal government hiring, though he noted an exception for the military, and reinstating a ban on providing federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide information on the option. The regulation, known as the "Mexico City Policy," has been a political volleyball, instituted by Republican administrations and rescinded by Democratic ones since 1984.

Following a tumultuous first weekend in office — consumed by Trump's criticism of the media's inauguration coverage followed by pushback against his comments — the president was seeking to refocus on the sweeping, yet often vague, promises he made as a candidate. He campaigned as a fierce opponent of multilateral trade agreements, particularly the 12-nation Pacific Rim deal agreed to by President Barack Obama.

Earlier Monday, Trump huddled with business leaders and warned that he would impose a "substantial border tax" on companies that move their manufacturing out of the United States. He also promised tax advantages to companies that produce products domestically.

"All you have to do is stay," he said during a meeting in the White House's Roosevelt Room.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin were among the executives who attended the meeting. The gathering kicked off a jam-packed day for the new president, including an evening reception with lawmakers from both parties and a sit-down with union leaders.

Trump ran for office pledging to overhaul U.S. trade policy, arguing that massive free-trade agreements have disadvantaged American workers. Since winning the White House, he's aggressively called out companies that have moved factories overseas, vowing to slap taxes on products they then try to sell in the U.S.

"Some people say that's not free trade, but we don't have free trade now," Trump said Monday.

The president also reiterated his campaign pledge to lower taxes for companies, as well as the middle class, "anywhere from 15 to 25 percent." He also called for cutting 75 percent of federal regulations — and insisted that doing so would not compromise worker safety.

Monday's developments came after a first weekend in the White House that included lambasting news organizations for correctly reporting on the size of the crowds at his inauguration and mass protests against his presidency on the following day.