Belfast Telegraph

Trump to pull US out of key trade pact as he 'puts America first'

By Luise Andres Henao

Donald Trump has confirmed he will leave a crucial trade pact as he defended his worldwide business interests.

The US President-elect released a short video about his plans for his administration, which included the intention to quit the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

"I am going to issue a notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country," Mr Trump said.

"Instead, we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores."

Mr Trump said in the video he was assembling a Cabinet made up of "patriots" and that his agenda "will be based on a simple core principle - putting America first".

He repeated a number of his promises for the first 100 days of his administration, including vows to negotiate new trade deals, remove regulations on businesses and establish a five-year ban on executive officials becoming lobbyists.

Notably missing from his promises were his pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act and his vow to build a southern border wall with Mexico.

The President-elect later appeared to deny using the powers of his future office to benefit his businesses worldwide.

He tweeted: "Prior to the election it was well-known that I have interests in properties all over the world. Only the crooked media makes this a big deal!"

Mr Trump has indicated he would cut the US rate of corporation tax from 35% to 15% - which could impact on the Republic of Ireland, where a large number of US companies have set up, drawn by the Republic's low tax rate of 12.5%.

But in a speech to the CBI this week, Prime Minister Theresa May said her ambition was for the UK to have the lowest business tax rate of the G20 countries - which could suggest a rate that's even lower than a putative US rate of 15%.

Japan's Prime Minister has said the TPP trade deal would be "meaningless" without US participation.

Shinzo Abe was speaking after attending a meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders in Peru, at which some said they might try to modify the 12-nation TPP pact to make it more appealing to Mr Trump or seek to implement it without the US.

But Mr Abe discounted the idea of going ahead without the Americans. "TPP is meaningless without the United States," he said during an official visit to Argentina. He also said the pact could not be renegotiated.

Belfast Telegraph