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The Trump Administration’s Trade Policy and the Implications for Southeast Asia

The Trump Administration’s Trade Policy and the Implications for Southeast Asia The Trump Administration’s Trade Policy and the Implications for Southeast Asia WALTER LOHMAN As promised, on 23 January 2016, President Donald Trump withdrew the United Sates from the completed negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In the process, as he did prior to taking office, he stressed his preference for bilateral trade deals. The executive order he signed was a highly symbolic act. The President needed only to refrain from sending the agreement to Congress. His signature, however, served to underscore the finality of his decision. The message: Not only is the United States pulling out of TPP, but neither will it seek to “fix” the agreement. Similarly, his emphasis on bilateral deals is a determinative sign that the idea will not be resurrected under a new guise. Trump is taking a new approach to trade that has no place for multilateral trade agreements. At best, America appears headed towards a period of consolidation focused on enforcement issues, renegotiation of select agreements and a limited number of new bilateral deals. This would constitute a relatively conventional approach, yet a nationalist one. At worst, the Trump administration could be headed for an unconventional, very hardline approach that tests its http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

The Trump Administration’s Trade Policy and the Implications for Southeast Asia

The Trump Administration’s Trade Policy and the Implications for Southeast Asia


The Trump Administration’s Trade Policy and the Implications for Southeast Asia WALTER LOHMAN As promised, on 23 January 2016, President Donald Trump withdrew the United Sates from the completed negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In the process, as he did prior to taking office, he stressed his preference for bilateral trade deals. The executive order he signed was a highly symbolic act. The President needed only to refrain from sending the agreement to Congress. His signature, however, served to underscore the finality of his decision. The message: Not only is the United States pulling out of TPP, but neither will it seek to “fix” the agreement. Similarly, his emphasis on bilateral deals is a determinative sign that the idea will not be resurrected under a new guise. Trump is taking a new approach to trade that has no place for multilateral trade agreements. At best, America appears headed towards a period of consolidation focused on enforcement issues, renegotiation of select agreements and a limited number of new bilateral deals. This would constitute a relatively conventional approach, yet a nationalist one. At worst, the Trump administration could be headed for an unconventional, very hardline approach that tests its constitutional authorities and international treaty Walter Lohman is Director of the Asian Studies Center of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation, as well as an Adjunct Associate Professor in Georgetown University’s Asian Studies Program. Postal address: 214 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20002; email: walter.lohman@heritage.org. 01 Roundtable-3P.indd 36 commitments. Whichever way it goes, US trade policy going forward will have a major impact on America’s role in the Asia Pacific broadly and in Southeast Asia, in particular. The push for free trade in...
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Publisher
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
Copyright
Copyright © The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
ISSN
1793-284X
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Abstract

The Trump Administration’s Trade Policy and the Implications for Southeast Asia WALTER LOHMAN As promised, on 23 January 2016, President Donald Trump withdrew the United Sates from the completed negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In the process, as he did prior to taking office, he stressed his preference for bilateral trade deals. The executive order he signed was a highly symbolic act. The President needed only to refrain from sending the agreement to Congress. His signature, however, served to underscore the finality of his decision. The message: Not only is the United States pulling out of TPP, but neither will it seek to “fix” the agreement. Similarly, his emphasis on bilateral deals is a determinative sign that the idea will not be resurrected under a new guise. Trump is taking a new approach to trade that has no place for multilateral trade agreements. At best, America appears headed towards a period of consolidation focused on enforcement issues, renegotiation of select agreements and a limited number of new bilateral deals. This would constitute a relatively conventional approach, yet a nationalist one. At worst, the Trump administration could be headed for an unconventional, very hardline approach that tests its

Journal

Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic AffairsInstitute of Southeast Asian Studies

Published: May 5, 2017

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