Donald Trump gave a speech at the world economic forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 26, 2018 (Photo Nicholas Kamm. AFP)
Donald Trump does it relax its trade policy? In any case it seems to have stretched a pole this week to its partners in the Asia-Pacific after having brutally turned away a year ago by withdrawing from the agreement TPP.
“I would add to the (free trade treaty trans-pacific) TPP if we had a much better agreement than that,” said the us president in an interview to the american channel CNBC at the world economic Forum in Davos.
“The statements (of Trump) on the TPP represent a real inflection”, notes Edward Alden, an expert at the Council of Foreign Relations, whereas there was just a year ago, on 23 January 2017, the president signed a document putting an end to the participation of the United States.
It was his first decision, according to him, to save american jobs are threatened by free trade.
This treaty, seen as a counterweight to the growing influence of China, which was not part of it, had been fiercely negotiated under the Obama era and be signed in 2015 by 12 Asia-Pacific countries, representing 40% of the global economy. It was not, however, yet entered into force with the arrival of Donald Trump at the White House.
So far, the american withdrawal has not signed his death sentence. This week, with the other 11 partners, who had taken up the torch in favor of this large commercial area, have announced a new agreement, without the United States.
“The new SSDS, which should be signed in march, had to really irritate the president,” said Monica De Bolle, a specialist in trade policy at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), a think tank in Washington. As much as it has been concluded more quickly than expected.
The 11 partners – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – were already well advanced in the negotiations in November 2017, on the sidelines of an Apec summit in Vietnam, but he still had to resolve some disputes.
– ‘The world continued’ –
“These countries have clearly demonstrated their willingness to fill the void that the United States seem to leave them behind,” says Monica De Bolle.
In addition, Donald Trump, who has repeatedly pointed out its preference for bilateral agreements, had to be a reason: Japan does not want such an agreement, and he has publicly made it known, observes the specialist, where “the coaster” as the administration Trump becomes aware of the potential economic losses.
“He became aware suddenly that the world continues while the United States is no longer a part of the game,” executive summary Gregory Daco, chief economist at Oxford Economics.
The american president, who also imposed the renegotiation of the treaty of free trade in north america (Nafta), with new discussions this week in Montreal, with Canada and Mexico, is also increasingly under the strong pressure of the business world that the urge to not camp on a protectionist policy radical.
“Trump has clearly understood this message that comes from influential people, rich, these people he respects”, and that it has met in Davos, reacts to Edward Alden.
The strategy of Canada, one of the main trading partners of the United States, could also have played a part in the apparent easing of the stance of Washington.
Ottawa has indeed made a grand event of its accession to the trans-pacific partnership this week, while recalling that he would not bend to the demands of the administration Trump on the pane Nafta.
The canadian minister of foreign Affairs asked by chrystia Freeland did not hesitate to declare that Canada was preparing for the possibility of an american withdrawal from Nafta, in force since 1994.
Ottawa says in addition that the United States, of which 9 million jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada, would have a lot to lose if they left the Nafta.
Friday in Davos, Donald Trump seems to have been sensitive to the many warnings: “America first is not America’s alone,” he admitted. “We are in favour of free trade, but it must be fair, and it must be reciprocal”.